Dr. Amy Norgard to give Faculty Forum lecture on video games (April 7, 2022 at 6:00)March 31, 2022
The literature, myths, art, and history of ancient Greece and Rome have long fascinated later generations, becoming the subject of retellings and reinterpretations. For our generation, video games are a major area of reception of Classical antiquity, but are relatively unexplored by scholarship. From the early days of the medium, a subset of video games has re-envisioned Greco-Roman antiquity as a playable space, evident by iconic games such as the single-player shooter game Gladiator (1977), and the action-adventure platformer Kid Icarus (1986). Since the 2000’s, there has been a surge in the market of video games (both mainstream and independent) set in and around the ancient Mediterranean: examples include Rome: Total War (2004), the God of War series (2005-present), and more recently Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (2018), Hades (2020), and The Forgotten City (2021) – to name a few. The players have spoken: the ancient world sells! But as these new iterations of antiquity appear on screen in an interactive format that empowers the player, how are notions of authenticity of ancient Greece and Rome being redefined? How do ancient world video games give us an opportunity to redefine antiquity for our own time, in particular by highlighting “lost” narratives, or diverse voices and perspectives? Join me as we discuss the critical connections between narratology, ludology, and authenticity in video games that reinforce the relevance of the ancient world – or some version thereof – for the player.