Oh boy, E3 has come and gone and left excitement and news in its wake. Rumors have been confirmed, dreams have been shattered, hopes have been restored, and a million gamers cried out and then were retweeted when Super Mario Odyssey was announced. The SNES Classic got people nostalgic, Skulls & Bones got them piratical, Assassin’s Creed Origins got them dusting off their robes, and Summer Games Done Quick got them to donate.
It’s been a hectic, but fun, couple of weeks and we’re glad to share all this great news with you in this 24th Issue of VALUE Field Reports!
We’re super excited to announce our upcoming project: RoMeincraft! The borders of the Roman Empire stretched all the way to the Netherlands, along the so-called Limes. These defensive lines have been found in a variety of dig sites near and in Leiden and Utrecht, among other cities. We here at VALUE are planning to reconstruct the Limes found in the province of Zuid-Holland in Minecraft, with help of the public, to introduce a much broader audience to these archaeological remnants.
For a good example of what we have in mind, you can take a look at what Dig It! Is doing in Scotland. They presented at the Interactive Past Conference and wrote a chapter in our Interactive Past book on page 167!
The first public event will take place on September 16th at the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden, during the Nacht van Kunst en Kennis.
Also, keep an eye on our RoMeincraft website, even though it’s still under development.
Games We Dig – Skyrim
There’s been a lot to do about Skyrim ever since Bethesda announced at E3 that the game would be ported to the Nintendo Switch. The game, which was released in 2011, still got its fair share of fans. Among them is our very own Dr. Random who wrote an article on the most important element in the world-building of Skyrim: archaeology!
Read his musings on our website!
VALUE On The ASOR Blog
Ymir wrote an article for the ASOR blog, an international organisation for individuals interested in the history of the Eastern Mediterranean, in which he illustrates a great overview of the history of Project VALUE. If you want a refresher course, or just like reading about VALUE, this is the article to read.
Read the words that Ymir wrote! READ THEM!
Steam Summer Sale – VALUE Recommendations
During the Steam Summer Sale, we here at VALUE wanted to point out some great historical games that you fine folks would might want to check out. Now that the Sale is over, the discounts might be gone but the excellent games most definitely aren’t.
Head on over to the VALUE website and see what games we recommend!
Summer Games Done Quick – Speedrunning For Charity
It’s that time of the year again where a bunch of really talented speedrunners come together to stream for a full week in order to get donations for charity. This year’s charity is Doctor’s Without Borders. You can watch the stream live or go through recordings of runs you’ve missed; your favourite game might be completely broken by a speedrunner who uses every trick in the book to get the fastest time right now! Join in on the fun, and maybe donate, at this year’s Summer Games Done Quick!
The stream, recordings, and more information can all be found on the Games Done Quick website!
For years, maybe even decades, video games were perceived as a typical boy thing. We all know this is simply not true, and that girls have invad— errrr, been a huge (and at the least, an equal) part of gaming since the start. Still, the (false) perception remains.
Polygon published an amazing article on gender in video games (and development) back in 2013 and it’s worth revisiting. The feature handles the history of the stereotype, what its main problems are, where these originate from, and how to fix them.
I strongly recommend you read this article because it’s insightful, interesting, but most of all very important.
Visit Polygon for the full feature!
Crashing The Party – Crash Bandicoot: An Oral History
Nintendo had Mario, Sega had Sonic. But neither had Crash Bandicoot, a hyperactive spinning goofball that jumped over traps, ran from boulders, and took advice from a floating Tiki Mask. Crash Bandicoot was different, fun, and colourful. In light of the recent, and VERY succesfull, release of the remastered edition of the first three game, Polygon interviewed members of the original team behind the game and tried to reconstruct the circumstances that lead to the creation of this unique character and game series.
Read the oral history on Polygon!
How Long Can You Survive In Roman Malton
I’ve written about this project in Issue 21, and I’m happy to report that I am able to survive into my twilight years in Roman Malton. Sure, I’ve made a social faux-pas here and there, but at least I didn’t get executed for insubordination in the Roman army!
Are you interested to find out how long you’ll survive? Then head on over to the website of Derventio Brigantum and you’ll soon know!
Roman Malton awaits!
SNES Classic Is Here – And Has Star Fox 2
The news that Nintendo announced the SNES Classic shouldn’t be new, so we’re gonna gloss over that. Let’s just hope that Nintendo has sorted out their production lines this time around, hmmm?
Polygon has more info on the SNES Classic.
More interesting news, to us video game archaeologists and historians at least, is the inclusion of Star Fox 2. This sequel to the famous shoot ‘em up space game was only demo’d once, and then scrapped. The series never looked back on its lost sibling, and Star Fox 64 is seen by most as the direct sequel to the original. In a surprising move, Nintendo decided to dust-off this forgotten game and add it to the games included in their recently announced SNES Mini. Even the game’s programmer was surprised, and Kotaku got into contact with him about the game’s history.
Read more about Star Fox 2 on Kotaku!
In other Nintendo gaming history news; Nintendo has been making video games for 40 years now! An overview of that history, together with adorable commercials and pictures of futuristic game consoles, can be found on Kotaku.
Happy birthday, Nintendo gaming!
Dark Souls – The Secrets Hiding In The Architecture
Dark Souls is my favourite video game ever, by far. I’ve spent hundreds of hours exploring every nook and cranny of Lordran, and even more time reading fan theories and analysis of the tiniest detail on an enemy’s armor or the positioning of a certain tile in Anor Londo. The game itself doesn’t give you much of a story, and what story there is is told through vague descriptions on items. But thousands of gamers have tried to piece everything together, creating their own history for the game. Take the Capra Demon in Lower Undead Burg – bit of a random placement for a demon isn’t it? There’s no text that explains its presence. But think of the narrow streets you traverse. On the furthest end a group of unarmed hollows, hiding behind barricades and a pyre. Deeper into the burg, you’ll find thieves looting the abandoned houses. But nothing gets close to the real danger, the reason why the inhabitants barricaded the streets and fled to the other end, the Capra Demon.
Symbolism and metaphors run rampant in the series, and Eurogamer published an article that looks at the meaning of this. The various influences, the theme, and the sculptures all are important parts of the overall world of Dark Souls.
Read Eurogamer’s article on their website.
Another Metroid Remake 2’s Creator Is Not Mad At Nintendo
Which might strike you as weird, because DoctorM64 has worked on his (amazing) fan remake of Metroid 2 for the past ten years. We wrote about his project AM2R back in the 14th issue of Field Reports, and were amazed by the quality of this fan made remake. But DoctorM64 received a Cease And Desist letter from Nintendo just as AM2R got released. And now we know why – Nintendo announced their own Metroid 2 remake at E3! Kotaku contacted DoctorM64 and interviewed him. It seems he’s really excited about Nintendo’s new vision of his beloved game.
You can find the interview here.
One Thousand Voices – Preserving Indie Games
Steve Cook was a man with a mission. That mission was to collect and curate a thousand Indie games, some not even more than a experimental test or vague experience. That mission is now complete. Saving a thousand obscure Indie games from oblivion, Cook collected all these games and posted about them on Twitter, accompanied by a gif. He also uploaded them, with permission of course, as a torrent on Pirate Bay (see, ISP, not all Torrents are piracy!) so you can try them out for yourself. This immense, but important, effort provides a gallery for the indie developers to display their quirky games on.
Read more about the project here!
Blizzard Probably Remastering Warcraft 3 and Diablo 2
Well, time to kiss my career and social life goodbye! There’s rumors that Blizzard aims to remake two of my favourite games from when I attended high school. I still play these games from time to time (they’re classics for a reason), so I can’t be more excited! After remastering Starcraft (which is being released in August), the two games are a logical next step and some job listings on the Blizzard website seems to support the rumor.
Fight for the Horde! Drive back the Scourge! Run away crying from Rakanishu as his hordes of Fallen descend upon your Necromancer.
IGN reported on the rumor here.
RowYerBoat – Rowing Through The Caribbean Sea
Get your oars and start rowing, RowYerBoats is here! Designed by the Nexus1492 researchgroup at the University of Konstanz, colleagues of ours, you canoe your way between islands trying to reach your destination. Routes become harder and currents become stronger to try and stop you from reaching the fastest time.
And this is important, because you can win actual prizemoney!
Download RowYerBoat, get a highscore, and win!
Painting A Building – E3’s Ads
E3 has ads. A lot of ads. E3 is one big ad, where developers display their upcoming games in order to get players excited. One of the most recognisable way publishers display their ads during E3 is the massive paintings on the side of Hotel Figuroa in Los Angeles. The giant advertisements are painstakingly painted (painTstakingly painted, great pun opportunity missed there, Bram – Megalithic) by hand and people look forward to them every year.
Kotaku collected photographs and time-lapses on their website.
Was Polybius Real?
Of course he was! He wrote The Histories, a very important historical work detailing the Roman Republic! I don’t see how this is news? *Googles* Wait, apparently there’s a urban legend that there used to exist a game called Polybius, but it disappeared without a trace. So what’s the deal with this forgotten game? The Gaming Historian, a YouTube channel (I’ll let you guess what the videos are about) did some research and posted his findings.
Using League of Legends For Education
I swear, mom, this time it’s not a trick. Yes, I know I told you I had to play League of Legends for class, but this time I mean it! The game’s developer, Riot Games, has set up an so-called Application Programming Interface (API, for short) which basically means you can access all the information that passes through the League of Legends servers: total play time, most bought items, character that dies the most, character that’s banned the most (Ban Teemo or feed), and much much more. Ioannis Pandithas, Associate Dean of Engineering and Informatics at the New York College, lets his students use the API in order to learn about programming. He wrote a series of interesting articles about it on Medium, showing how massive amounts of data from a video game can be used for Good (and education).
Read the first article on Medium.
Twitch And Blizzard Team Up For E-sports
E-sports recently received a massive boost after Twitch, the popular streaming website owned by Amazon, and Blizzard signed a deal in which E-sports would be exclusively hosted on Twitch. This allows Blizzard to improve their control over quality, but also will make organising these events easier. We’re on our way to a professional and well-organised future of e-sports!
Read about the deal here.
Assassin’s Creed – Assassin Boogaloo
Ubisoft presented their newest Assassin’s Creed game, Origins, at E3, confirming rumors that it would take place in Ancient Egypt. That’s right, we’re going to be jumping of Pyramids, assassinating pharao’s, and probably be finding grains of sand everywhere for years to come. The new setting is exciting, but the fatigue of the series is setting in. Can Egypt spice things up? The title, Origins, certainly promises a new look on things. Gameinformer dedicated multiple features on this sunkissed new setting, detailing all there is to know.
Here’s the main page for the features!
Two Pirate Video Games Walk Into a Bar
And immediately people are arguing which of the two is better. Sea of Thieves is a cartoony open world game about a pirate crew, while Skull & Bones is a more gritty action packed ship-combat game. People draw comparisons, pick a side, draw their cutlasses, and drink some grog. But what about me, an historian who specialises in pirates? I’m just glad pirate games are returning to popularity! Bring on the pirates!
Gameinformer interviewed Mike Chapman, design director of Sea of Thieves.
The Yellow King – Roleplaying Game
The King in Yellow is one of the most fearsome horrors in the greater Cthulhu-mythos: the being does not need a mind-shattering appearance of immense size: it is simply a humanoid figure clad in yellow that slowly works to bring our reality into his. Hint: sanity and nice things are not part of that new reality.
If you’re interested in dooming your players to eternal madness, or just want a cool setting for your next RPG session, you might wanna back this.
Check out the Kickstarter!
If you have suggestions/ideas/contributions or just want to say hi, feel free to send us a mail at email@example.com or contact us via our twitter @value_project