VALUE Field Reports #26: And there was much rejoicing.


A year ago, I started writing little news snippets about cool and interesting articles that combined the wonderful worlds of archaeology, history, and video games. Twentysix issues later, not much has changed for this little section of VALUE [Doctor Random: Except for the fact that the bulletin has gotten longer and better with each issue! Thanks Bram!]. For VALUE in general, however, a lot did change: we bought an Oculus Rift, released our book, we secretly took over the world, and gained 500 followers on Facebook and Twitter. And there’s much, much more in the pipelines!

But let’s get back to the most important thing: Issue 26 of the Field Reports!


Register For the Interactive Pasts Workshop!

We here at VALUE are delighted and excited to announce the Interactive Pasts Workshop! This workshop, titled “Interactive (Hi)storytelling”, is free (yes, F-R-E-E) to attend, but there’s only 50 spots. So make sure you register as soon as possible! Not only will you be able to meet us lovely people in person, but you’ll also learn how to use Twine to bring archaeology and video games together by creating a narrative. Meet like minded people, cooperate with them, create amazing stories, and listen to presentations by top experts!
What are you waiting for?
Register already!

Games We Dig – Mass Effect Series – Day of Archaeology Edition.

Dr. Random wrote a Games We Dig about the Mass Effect series for our contribution to the Day of Archaeology project. The project’s goal is to inform other archaeologist and interested people of the myriad of cool and interesting applications of archaeology. In this Games We Dig, Dr. Random writes about the series as a whole, how it deals with the collapse of the in-game galactic society, and how this reflects the collapse of societies in our history.
Read on!

SO MANY FRIENDS – 500 Likes on Facebook.

Yes, 500 of you lovely people have clicked “Like” on our Facebook page. That’s a whole lotta love from a whole lotta people!
Thank you all for your support!!!

VALUE is world famous… in Italy!

Okay, okay, we’ve only been mentioned in the Italian edition of the QC men’s magazine. But let’s just assume that every single Italian man (and a lot of women who don’t care about gender-targeted magazines) has read the article! We’ll have a major influx of readers! They might be reading this Field Report right now! Oh man, my Italian is rustier than the rivets on the Titanic. Err..Eerrr.. Benvenuto!!!
Read the (Italian) article here!


In Space, No One Can Hear You Collect Corpses.

EVE Online is known for its complex gameplay (most often compared to spreadsheets), giant space battles, espionage, and real-life economy. But what if the thrill of flying a space fighter, smuggling cargo through null-sec space, or backstabbing your CEO and stealing his Titan spaceship doesn’t do it for you? You can always go and collect corpses in space!
Lower that ritual dagger and erase that pentagram from the floor, Necromancer, there’s no space zombies for you to find here. The corpses have no direct monetary reward tied to them. However, if you find the corpse of a high-profile player, the corpse suddenly becomes a trophy. I mean, who doesn’t want the digital remains of their rival or idol hanging in their apartment in a space station? 

I’m utterly fascinated with the world of EVE Online, but these people kinda scare me…
Read on about the fascinating and disturbing world of corpse collectors!

Bringing Pixels to Life – Old Video Game Advertisements.

Some of you young whippersnappers might’ve missed out on the Atari 2600’s amazing graphics. The realistic car models in Frogger and the majestic birds in Joust came to life thanks to the ama—- hahahahaha, I can’t keep a straight face: everything was blocky and pixelated. Obviously we had to use a LOT of imagination, and usually that did the trick. But sometimes you needed a bit more help to understand what’s going on. I had a week long fight with a friend: he said that the units in Artillery where soldiers, I said they were wizards. They were artillery guns, of course, but you try figuring out what that blob of pixels was when you couldn’t read English or even know what artillery was!
And that’s where the advertisements came in: cartoons filled in details that were left out by pixels, and text explained the story which could not fit on the cartridge. Polygon wrote an article on the history of video game advertisements, and how a single (boardgame) company influenced ads for decades.
Head on over to Polygon for nostalgia and an interesting history.


One very talented artist has recreated DE_Dust2 of Counterstrike fame as a tabletop game. The environments were done in great detail (pretty sure I can point out the exact spot where last week I got 360-no scoped by a 12 year old using an AWP) and he even designed playing cards to represent equipment.
Drool over the picture album.

Mapping and Conquering Civilization VI.

Not everyone plays Civilization on the Earth map, and the ability to build just about any world wonder in any city, find any city state or natural wonder anywhere might make it difficult to clue together the historical and geographical importance of the locations of these entities. I mean, it’s fun and all to see Brussels situated right next to Xi’an (which has recently completed the Big Ben), but some of the less famous city states or wonders might require a bit of research to fully appreciate. Luckily, the people over at TLDR Movie Reviews made a few maps to help us out!
Check out the Civ 6 maps here!

Speaking of Civ6, the newest culture that has been added is Nubia! Taking the reigns as Amanitore, a queen that’s most known for building great temples and being a thorn in the side of the Egyptians. The civ’s unique unit is a better (stronger, faster) archer and the unique building is a Nubian pyramid that, besides looking really cool, gives you all kind of neat bonuses.
The update also brings a lot of changes and fixes.
More about the “new” civilization can be found here.

Solving Aztec Problems With Violence.

The Aztecs are generally viewed as a pretty violent people. A highly advanced people with postal systems, mathematics, calendars, and huge cities, but violent nonetheless. Most heavy metal album cover designers that hear about the sacrifices of prisoners of war during a day-long ritual go “Wow dude, that’s a bit extreme. Not cool!” before they return to drawing mountains of skulls upon which barbarians fight off towering demons.
Aztez isn’t trying to change that perception. This digital boardgame is a blend of strategy and beat-em-up gameplay, in which you seek to expand and control your domain from the city of Technochtitlan. By expand I mean conquer and by control I mean killing a lot of people. It’s very, very bloody.
See what Kotaku has to say about Aztez.

Escaping Prison Into Imagination – Dungeons and Dragons.

Many prisoners want to escape from their prison, although not necessarily physically. Dungeons & Dragons have become a widespread phenomenon in the many prisons in the USA, giving inmates a chance to flex their creative minds and use their imagination to escape from the dreary and harsh day to day prison life.
But it wouldn’t be the American prison system if dice (because gambling) and sometimes D&D explicitly would be banned by a lot of prisons. Wouldn’t want those inmates to stave off boredom and give them a way to express themselves, now do we?
Vice looked at how inmates circumvent rules in order to play their favourite RPG.

Using Archaeology To Tell Stories.

Telling stories without words is nothing new for video games: players have pieced together the history of Dark Souls through studying the architecture, Journey tells the downfall of an ancient civilization through murals, and Prince of Persia uses just one room to tell the sad story of a 5-year old Protosmoochy that couldn’t get past the 4th screen. The new Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild seems to have taken a liking to this kind of storytelling. Landmarks, such as the waterfall leading towards Zora’s Domain in Ocarina of Time can be found in a similar place in Breath of the Wild, just like the location of (by now) ancient city walls. Princess Zelda’s an archaeologist, too!
Eurogamer looked at how archaeology fits in the world of Breath of the Wild.

Surviving the Late Cretaceous Period.

If you prefer to play as a dinosaur in your survival game, instead of taming them (Ark: Survival Evolved) or fighting them with physics (Trespasser), then Saurian is the game for you. At least, after they complete the game. With the help of paleontologists, the developer tried to accurate dinosaurs that the player can guide from its first small steps to (quite possibly) meeting a violent end in the jaws of a larger predator. The game’s still in early access, with an estimated release date somewhere in 2019.
Experience every early 90’s kids dream in Saurian.

Raiding Tombs – The Assassin Way.

“Grave robbing is bad. But tomb raiding in Assassin’s Creed Origins? That sounds very good.” Is it though, Games Radar writer, is it? Isn’t that telling gamers that it’s okay to violate the (digital, but recreated) tombs of ancient kings when there’s loot at the bottom?
Still better than violating the real thing. I guess. Because that’s what the people behind the new Assassin’s Creed Origins are doing: trying to recreate the pyramids and other tombs as close to reality as possible. With added secret areas and nifty-assassin-helping-ledges of course.
Read what the creative director has to say about the tombs and the raiding of such.

Saving Endangered Languages – The Fun Way.

What do you do when you have a massive database with recordings of over 1000(!) endangered languages that can be found through the Pacific Ocean, but the general audience isn’t interested in using it? You make it less dull (their words, not mine!) by giving it a snazzy presentation in VR! The researchers behind the PARADISEC project hope that a wider exposure to the material will lead to more people willing to help out and at the same time create appreciation for the project.
You can find everything about the PARADISEC project here!

Trust No One.

Not even me. No wait, trust me, don’t trust anyone else. No time to explain, just trust me.
A lot of people try their utmost best in cooperative games to work together and achieve the goal. Others, like a certain friend I won’t mention (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!![Doctor Random: Is it… Jaromirr? I wouldn’t trust him with the loot, if I were you!], revel in backstabbing or prefer to abuse that trust to gain all the loot. The Evolution of Trust is a game/presentation that shows the player how cheating and cooperating works, and why trust is such a fragile thing.
Play this interactive presentation and see for yourself!

If you have suggestions/ideas/contributions or just want to say hi, feel free to send us a mail at or contact us via our twitter @value_project

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