Symposium, August 7th: Rise of Nations

In the realm of strategy games, years can be played as minutes and Rise of Nations, which was originally released by Big Huge Games in 2003, provides a striking contrast between its broad historical scope and the surprisingly brief window of time that interrogates it.

The recent “Extended Edition” re-release of Rise of Nations on Steam provides a more accessible opportunity to re-examine discussions from past symposia through the lens of this beloved real-time strategy game:

  • Does the distance of abstraction provided by Rise of Nations — and strategy games in general — provide an illuminating vantage point to observe or even participate in a practice of history through play?
  • Is this practice of history strengthened or weakened by Rise of Nations’ capacity for multiple and iterative skirmishes? (Can we compare and contrast this against the more linear and expositive narrative of Assassin’s Creed?)
  • Is the real-time strategy of Rise of Nations well-poised for meaningful contemplation of history “in motion” or is subversive play the game’s strongest suit?

One piece of supplemental material that may enrich our discussion is Troy Goodfellow’s National Character series on Flash of Steel, which examines how certain countries are mechanically portrayed throughout various strategy games, including Rise of Nations. Do these characterizations in Rise of Nations make for a more meaningful and consonant presentation of history?

We’ll meet to discuss these questions and more on Thursday, August 7th at 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT; voice chat over Skype.

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Gaming Session: Minecraft, July 31, 2014


Minecraft this week! Thursday 7/31 at 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT, the usual server.

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Gaming Session: Android: Netrunner, July 24, 2014


We’re continuing our Netrunner sessions; we’ll meet on OCTGN this Thursday at 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT, with voice chat over Skype.

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No Gaming Session August 17th

We’re taking this week off, see you on the 24th.

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Gaming Session: Android: Netrunner, July 10, 2014


We’re continuing to work Netrunner into the rotation; so come join us if you’re interested in the game! We’ll meet this Thursday at 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT; game play on OCTGN.

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Symposium of 3 July 2014: the Assassin’s Creed franchise


My plan is to make my symposia focus on various aspects of Assassin’s Creed for the foreseeable future. To that end, this Thursday I want to try to uncover as many prior questions as we can, and see if we can come to rough answers for them, before we proceed to my ultimate aim of a kind of consensus description of the relation of Assassin’s Creed to the practice of history in the modern world.

Off the top of my head, we’ll be talking about

  • What is the practice of history?
  • What is the practice of history in the modern world, if we think it’s different from the practice of history in any other period or culture?
  • What does a description of a relation of an artwork, and in particular of a practomimetic possibility-space, to the practice of history look like?
  • (The off-ramp strawman) Should we refrain from the description I envision, whether because the makers of Assassin’s Creed have made it clear that the practice of history doesn’t matter to them, or because we have better uses for our time and humanistic attention?

I’m guessing the discussion will be robust. There’s no need to have played a single Assassin’s Creed game, let alone any installment of the franchise in particular, to participate.

We’ll meet on Thursday, July 3rd at 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT; voice chat over Skype.

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Gaming Session: Android: Netrunner, June 26, 2014


Android: Netrunner seems to be turning into a regular game for us, so we’re going to play it again this week! And beginners are most definitely welcome, most of us are new to the game as well. Game play on OCTGN, voice chat on Skype; it’s this Thursday at 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT.

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