Author: Eugen Pfister

“The Egg, the Atom, my Soul” – On Atavistic Modernity (case study: Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs).

by Arno Görgen (Translation by Catherine Marshall. The original German version ca n be found here.) I play Oswald Mandus, a London industrialist whose wealth is built on the family  slaughterhouse business he now owns (second generation), and who after a trip to an Aztec temple in Mexico turns his…

How to simulate what has never happened before: Nuclear weapons and video simulation.

by Florian Galleri One specific characteristic of video games compared to other media lies in the singularity of gameplay [1]. For many games the main part of the pleasure of playing is not found in the narrative or the aesthetics but in the enoyment of the gameplay itself, which is…

On Infected and the Collapse of Society (Case Study: The Last of Us)

by Eugen Pfister (Translation by Catherine Marshall) After almost two hours of play we finally arrived at our destination. We have crept through the harbour occupied by a military dictatorship, overcome the walls of the quarantine zone, fought our way through a downtown Boston reclaimed by nature and overrun with…

The Austrian games industry and the free-market economy 1991-2006. A political history of ideas.

The following text is based on my keynote at the 2020 FROG conference and is expected to be published this summer in the anthology „Denk N., Pfeiffer A., Serada A., Wernbacher T. (eds.) 2021, A LUDIC SOCIETY, DOI 10.48341/b17g-3c33“. With the kind permission of the editors, I am publishing it…

Some Early Thoughts on History and Games And Collective Identity

von Eugen Pfister The following essay is partly based on my presentation at the Clash of Realities conference November 2019 .: „Playing „History as it really was“ – The Myth of Historical Accuracy in video games and its ideological functions“. History vs. Historical Studies If you’re a historian working with/on…

Political Communication in Digital Horror Games

by Eugen Pfister This text originally appeared here in German. London 1918: the Spanish flu claims thousands of victims, hitting the poorest of the city hardest. Whole neighbourhoods stand empty; communist trade unionists and street gangs fight bloody street battles. While the upper class of the West End considers building…

Plague Inc. – Designing Virtual Pandemics

by Arno Görgen Fig. 1: Informational Realism in Plague Inc.Plague Inc. and Corona Plague Inc. is a strategy game that was developed by James Vaughn and his studio Ndemic Creations in 2012 – very successfully with over 120 million units sold by 2019 – for various platforms (including iOS, Android,…

Learning from Horror Games

Deutscher Text The Pandemic and knowledge transfers in digital games von Eugen Pfister In our SNF-Ambizione research project “Horror-Game-Politics” we aim to show that digital games, as an integral part of popular culture, have not only an entertainment function but also a communication function. It is part of our popular…

OF MYTHICAL CITIES, ACTOR-NETWORKS, AND AMERICAN CULTURE: THOUGHTS ON THE CULTURAL WORK OF GRAND THEFT AUTO

by Sören Schoppmeier* The following essay is the english version by the author of this earlier guest contribution. This contribution’s thesis is so inconspicuous that one should consider it more closely: Grand Theft Auto [1] is an active participant in American culture. It should be stressed that to argue this…

Games are never innocent

The following essay is based on the third part of my keynote speech at the FROG conference 2017 on October, 14th 2017 at the Wiener Rathaus. The first part „Keep your Politics out of my games!“ can be found here, as well as impromtu replies by Tobias Winnerling and Robert Heinze. The second part „On…

Panem et circenses: Bejeweled, Fun & Politics

von Tobias Winnerling*   [The following opinion piece was written by Tobias Winnerling in response to my essay „Keep your politics out of my games!“ -EP]  „All things considered, it looks as though Utopia were far closer to us than anyone, only fifteen years ago, could have imagined. Then, I…
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