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      Counterfactual Communities: Strategy Games, Paratexts and the Player’s Experience of History

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          Abstract

          The genre of history strategy games is a crucial area of study because of what is at stake in the representation of controversial aspects of history in popular culture. Previous work has pointed to various affordances and constraints in the representation of history, based on the framing of the game interface, the alignment of goals with certain strategies and textual criticism of the contents of the games. In contrast, this article examines these games from the perspective of the player’s experience of play in relation to a wider gaming community. It is in these counterfactual communities that players negotiate their individual experience with their knowledge of the history that is presented in the games that they play, indicating that the relationship between digital games, players and history is highly contextual. The relevant practices of players of history strategy games are illustrated with examples from the official and unofficial communities of the Paradox Interactive games Europa Universalis II and Victoria: Empire Under the Sun. The shared paratexts demonstrate how positions are negotiated in relation to the ‘official’ version of history presented in the games. These negotiations are made tangible through the production and sharing of paratexts that remix the official history of the games to include other perspectives developed through counterfactual imaginations. These findings indicate the importance of including perspectives from gaming communities to support other forms of analysis in order to make rigorous observations about the impact of digital games on popular history.

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          Most cited references 17

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2056-6700
                Open Library of Humanities
                Open Library of Humanities
                2056-6700
                23 March 2018
                2018
                : 4
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Research for Educational Impact (REDI), Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Geelong, AU
                Article
                10.16995/olh.286
                Copyright: © 2018 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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                Self URI (journal-page): https://olh.openlibhums.org/
                Categories
                Postcolonial perspectives in game studies

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