VALUE Field Reports #28: War, What Is It Good For?


Video games, apparently. War is good for a loooooooooooooot of video games. For proof, just look at this Field Report! A lot of these games involving war and/or fighting, but who’s to say who the good or the bad side is? Pick your favourite god/civilization/war/series and have at it!
Welcome to the 28th edition of Field Reports!


Romeincraft – First Event

Good news, everyone! Our new project RoMeincraft (which we have mentioned before in Field Reports) is about to have its first(!) event! During the Nacht van Kunst & Kennis (Night of Art & Science) we will be rebuilding the Roman fort Matilo that once stood in the city of Leiden, in Minecraft. And we’ll bring our Oculus Rift too! If you’re in the neighbourhood, make sure to buy a ticket for the event and swing by!

16 September at 19:00–23:59
Academiegebouw Universiteit Leiden
Rapenburg 73, 2311 GJ Leiden, Netherlands
Look at the event page, and join us and/or cheer us on!

Archaeogaming at the European Association for Archaeologists 2017

During the biggest conference for archaeology in Europe, Meghan Dennis, Linnart Linde, and VALUE hosted a 4-hour long session consisting of 15 papers on archaeogaming called “In Play. Archaeology in Videogames as a Metadisciplinary Approach.” And it was a MASSIVE success! The room was packed, people were interested, and everyone was inspired. Andrew Reinhard wrote an extensive report on the session for his blog, including the main points of every speaker.
Make sure you read the report on this amazing session!


Tables Turned, Shooting at American Soldiers

We’ve all been there, controlling some American (super)soldier on the famous battlefield of Omaha Beach/Khe Sanh/Berlin/Space, shooting that particular enemy flavour of the week. Just when you think you’re overrun by the enemy force, the paratroopers/gunships/tanks/drop pods arrive with explosions and rock music to save the day! USA, USA, and all that. The vile enemy lies dead at your feet and the credits roll.
But what if we’re the baddies? (Yes, that IS a Mitchell & Webb reference). The DKRP (North Kora/Best Korea/the hermit kingdom/that weird country with nukes that’s been testing missiles more times than I clean my house) is not known for its widespread video game market. Only the elite has access to the actual world wide web, while the populace would count itself lucky if they ever get their hands on a mouse (computer and animal).
But that didn’t deter North Korea’s most creatively named company “North Korean Advanced Technology Research Institute” from creating the game Yankee Hunter. I’ll give you 10 seconds to guess what’s expected of the player.
With graphics as old as their newest fighter jets, North Korea’s booming gaming industry won’t make many heads turn in the rest of the world. But with more and more games being developed in countries that used to consider the USA as enemies for decades, like China and Russia, we might see more video games that portray the Americans as the faceless aggressor that needs to be overcome.
NK News reports on Yankee Hunter and other games.

An Old Perspective – The Best Isometric Games

What do you do when you want to convey the idea of distance and depth in your game, but the technology for full 3D is still years away? You take that 2D camera and tilt it, is what you do! Some of the greatest games ever made used this technique, and Kotaku made a list! …I’m slightly disturbed by the fact that I’ve played all of these… Let’s call it research, shall we?
Take an isometric look at some of gaming’s finest!

Ten Years of The Witcher

The Witcher has become a massive success outside of Poland (where the books already were a phenomenon) mainly thanks to the latest and last entry of the series; The Witcher 3. September 3rd saw the 10th anniversary of the series, and CD Projekt made a very touching video to commemorate that fact.
I’m not crying, you’re crying! It’s raining outside! It’s my allergies! Shut up… And no, me booting up The Witcher 3 is pure coincidental.

Video Game Theatre – Reenacting Video Games

That’s right, actors reenacting cutscenes in video games. Shakespeare must’ve envisioned the link below if he was asked what the pinnacle of acting was. The Video Game Theatre is reenacting a amazing/horrible cutscene from a video game every week, while paying close attention to intonations, emotions, and small details that made the original cutscenes so great. Finally, the two greatest forms of arts meet!
Behold the Video Game Theatre!

My God Can Beat Up Your God!

Gods were up until Superman and Spiderman the only superheroes that you’d need. They had awesome powers, crazy stories, and they probably created you and everything else in existence. But superheroes have been beating each other up since the very start, and while some people still argue about things (The Flash is faster than Superman, people, deal with it) a lot of comics, films, and games have settled multiple scores.

But we’ve never pitted gods against each other. And that’s where Fight of Gods comes in, an Early Access fighting game on Steam. Pick your god, cross-up combo the other god, and show the world which religion has the best fighter at its head!
Look at the crazy footage of gods using broken mechanics to beat each other up.

See What Pokémon Evolved From – Early Design Documents

At the very base of every video game is a design document that sketches what the game will look like. Like the Pokemon themselves, this design document changed over time. These old design documents are a great window into the development of the now legendary series. They’re full of sketches, schematics, and flowcharts: fun for every gamer and econometrist!
GameInformer looked at Pokemon’s first steps.

Digging Up E.T. – A Fictional Retelling

The story of how a few archaeologists located and excavated the landfill in which E.T. for the Atari 2600 was buried is an exciting one. But writer Leigh Alexander was inspired to write a fictional account of the event. The story has been republished, with beautiful illustrations, so you too can imagine what it was like to take part.
Read her story here.

Welcome To Your Jurassic Park

Please first visit our many shops before you go to our main attraction, the Tyrannosaurus R-OHMYGOD IT BROKE FREE!
The film Jurassic Park already showed that it might have not been the best business idea to make a park with actual living dinosaurs. They tend to break out and eat everyone, for starters. But if you’ve played the likes of Sim City, The Sims, and Rollercoaster Tycoon you’ll know that half the fun of the games is watching everything go South. Very, very South. After quicksaving, of course! Now imagine what you can do with a park filled with ferocious predators that can easily swallow an average American family (including the dog, the two cameras, and the iPad) whole. Build walls around your visitors, delete a section of the wall keeping the velociraptors in, and watch the show. Or that beautiful savanna with theropods: would be a shame if someone would drop a Spinosaurus in there… Bored life finds a way.
…What do you mean “psychopath”? Everyone did this in their games… Right? RIGHT?!

Running With the Tarahumara

In North Mexico, the Tharahumara people have lived for hundreds of years, holding on to their traditions and religion while resisting conquistadors and other modern influences. They’re renowned long-distance runners and have their own mythology. In other words, a perfect group to make a video game about. And that’s what Mulaka is: a 3D action-adventure based on the culture of the Tarahumara in which you play a shaman trying to save his land from corruption. Puzzles and mystical creatures stand in his way, but with the powers of (demi)gods these can be overcome.

The game has been designed with the help of anthropologists and Tarahumara leaders to make sure every detail is accurate, from the environment to the language and the music.
Find out more about this promising game.

But Can It Run Crysis?

Crysis is best known for the question “Can your new supercomputer handle Crysis”. The answer’s always no because a mixture of a grand scope, amazing technical possibilities, and bad optimization has always brought low the most powerful of machines. And that’s the problem: it’s known for its flaws and not much else. Some people might not even know there was a Crysis 2 and 3. The series flopped so hard, it’s one of the main reasons why its developer Crytek went bankrupt. Youtuber Noah Caldwell-Gervais has made an hour-long franchise retrospective, detailing the rise and fall of Crysis. It’s definitely worth checking out!

The Age of Empires Continues

One of the greatest strategy game series ever made, Age of Empires, is finally getting a fourth installment. The third one was released waaaay back in 2005, and in between there were HD-remasters of Age of Empires 1 and 2 and of the spinoff Age of Mythology. Players will finally again be able to boss workers around, spam castles, and (hopefully) spam “33” in chat. Judging by the Teaser Trailer, players will be able to advance their civilization to at least the 19th century, but some highlights are conquistadors, samurai, and war canoes. The game’s being developed by Relic Entertainment, best known for the Dawn of War and Company of Heroes series. Which would be great news, if they hadn’t messed up Dawn of War IV so badly. Maybe Microsoft will be able to direct them in the right direction.

The Anno Series Continues Into a New Century

Hot on the heels of the Age of Empires announcement, Ubisoft released a trailer for the newest addition to their historical strategy game series: Anno 1800. It’s time to start building your trade networks, cities, and empire all over again. But this time, in the 19th century! Steam-engines! Steel! Victorian things! Oh, and did you notice that every title in the Anno series count up to 18?

Seeking Treasures And Shooting Dudes – Uncharted The Lost Legacy

Few games are as cinematic and action-packed as the Uncharted series, in which Nathan Drake channeled his inner Lara Croft, Indiana Jones, and 80s Action Hero to find treasures in ruined temples and cities. Although Drake retired at the end of Uncharted 4 the team behind the series, Naughty Dog, went on to work on Uncharted The Lost Legacy. In this standalone title you once again channel your inner Lara Croft (etc, etc) to secure the Golden Tusk of Ganesh. They’re hindered by a seemingly unending tide of faceless rebels, led by one Asav. Lemme tell ya, if treasure hunting was this exciting (and dangerous) the History Channel would’ve made a series about it a long time ago.
GameInformer wrote down their thoughts.

Atari On The Warpath Again

Atari was once the greatest video game (console) developer of all time, but nowadays it’s better known for its many lawsuits. This time the company has set its sights on Nestle who according to Atari “simply took the classic Breakout screen, replaced its bricks with Kit Kat bars, and invited customers to ‘breakout’ and buy more candy bars” for an advertisement campaign. So far, no verdict has been reached.
Gamasutra reports.

Final Assassin’s Fantasy Creed

Wait what? Assassin’s Creed DLC for Final Fantasy 15? How… What… Why?!?!
Seriously… what? I mean… What does… Anything? Is there a connection?! I mean.. Huh?
Eurogamer knows more.

Destined To Leak – Destiny 2 Lore

If you are, like me, anxiously awaiting Destiny 2 to release for pc you don’t have to wait for the game’s release to dive into the lore! The collector edition (priced at a dazzling 250 dollars) comes with a booklet containing lots and lots of lore. Thankfully, a Reddit user has been so kind to upload the entire booklet for everyone to see. Now you can find out what the reason is why you’re shooting all these aliens in the face. Other than that it’s great fun, of course.
Kotaku looked at the booklet and described the most important bits.

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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