Culture & History Digital Journal, Vol 9, No 1 (2020)

Spanish colonial architecture as selective authenticity in historical digital games


https://doi.org/10.3989/chdj.2020.005

Fede Peñate Domínguez
Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Department of Modern and Contemporary History, Spain
orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5882-477X

Abstract


Buildings play a major role in computer games set in the past, both as gameplay components and as elements of historical realism. Varying on the genre of the game they perform different functions, from the transition and movement possibilities they allow the player in action-adventure games like Assassin’s Creed (Dow, 2013) to sedentary headquarters in strategy and management titles such as Age of Empires and Civilization (Bonner, 2014). My goal with this paper is to analyse the purposes of Spain’s colonial architecture in computer games set in the period of the Spanish Monarchy’s rule overseas. In order to achieve it, I will use Adam Chapman’s theoretical and methodological framework to understand the games’ historical epistemologies and ludonarratives, and Salvati and Bullinger’s concept of selective authenticity to analyse the role of these buildings in evoking the past and giving meaning to it. Aided by these lenses, I will try to unravel the master narratives behind these titles and how they give meaning to the history of Spain and its former colonies.

Keywords


Historical game studies; Historical videogames; Selective authenticity; Semiology; Mythistory; Spanish Empire; Colonial Latin America

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