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Saturday, February 14 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
Post-Colonial Games

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Modern games have for decades flavored their gameplay with colonial narratives of subjugation and conquest, typically casting players as empires or soldiers tasking with defeating their opponents. Games that offer alternative protagonists and perspectives constitute a rare but growing phenomenon. In this talk, I will argue that these new post-colonial games offer crucial critiques of mainstream discourse as well as the hegemonic games industry. For the purposes of contextualization, I will provide a brief overview of mainstream games and the economic and mechanical reasoning behind their choices for thematic setting. I will then examine the works of two companies, Molleindustria and Subaltern Games, and how they satirize existing game systems to create new means of post-colonial expression. I will also pay special attention to the inherent elitism of games as a medium that requires technical expertise, large budgets, and long development cycles. I will conclude by comparing Molleindustria's and Subaltern Games' works with that of post-colonial games created by non-white developers, highlighting their smaller scope and audience as well as their tendency to create entirely new forms of storytelling rather than parodying existing formulas.

avatar for Seth Alter

Seth Alter

Seth Alter is the Captain of Industry of Subaltern Games. He used to be a middle school special ed math teacher and, following the Late Bronze Age Collapse, quit that job because he felt he good teach more effectively through games. His first game, Neocolonialism, is a Marxist strategy... Read More →

Saturday February 14, 2015 3:30pm - 4:00pm EST
Bartos Theater First Floor

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