Digital Gaming Re-imagines the Middle Ages
Edited by Daniel T. Kline
Routledge – 2014 – 298 pages
Digital gaming’s cultural significance is often minimized much in the same way that the Middle Ages are discounted as the backward and childish precursor to the modern period. Digital Gaming Reimagines the Middle Ages challenges both perceptions by examining how the Middle Ages have persisted into the contemporary world via digital games as well as analyzing how digital gaming translates, adapts, and remediates medieval stories, themes, characters, and tropes in interactive electronic environments. At the same time, the Middle Ages are reinterpreted according to contemporary concerns and conflicts, in all their complexity. Rather than a distinct time in the past, the Middle Ages form a space in which theory and narrative, gaming and textuality, identity and society are remediated and reimagined. Together, the essays demonstrate that while having its roots firmly in narrative traditions, neomedieval gaming—where neomedievalism no longer negotiates with any reality beyond itself and other medievalisms—creates cultural palimpsests, multiply-layered trans-temporal artifacts. Digital Gaming Re-imagines the Middle Ages demonstrates that the medieval is more than just a stockpile of historically static facts but is a living, subversive presence in contemporary culture.
"With Digital Gaming Re-imagines the Middle Ages, Kline and his various contributors have collectively fired the first volley in what will be, one hopes, a new and exciting chapter in medievalism. However, the book is important not only because it is the first in this new subfield, but also because it is excellent in itself; the contributions are well-argued and clear, the collection has been carefully assembled and edited, and the whole contains a wide range of consistently insightful chapters." --Andrew B.R. Elliott, Arthuriana 24.4 (2014)
Introduction: "All Your History Are Belong to Us": Digital Gaming Re-imagines the Middle Ages Daniel T. Kline Part 1: Prehistory of Medieval Gaming 1. The Right to Dream of the Middle Ages: Simulating the Medieval in Tabletop RPGs William J. White Part 2: Gaming Re-imagines Medieval Traditions 2. "Best and Only Bulwark": How Epic Narrative Redeems Beowulf the Game Candace Barrington and Timothy English 3. Systematizing Culture in Medievalism: Geography, Dynasty, Culture, and Imperialism in Crusader Kings: Deus Vult Jason Pitruzzello 4. The Portrayal of Medieval Warfare in Medieval: Total War and Medieval 2: Total War Greg Fedorenko 5. Gabriel Knight: A Twentieth-Century Chivalric Romance Hero Angela Tenga Part 3: Case Study 1 – World of Warcraft 6. Coloring Tension: Medieval and Contemporary Concepts in Classifying and Using Digital Objects in World of Warcraft Elysse T. Meredith 7. Sir Thomas Malory and the Death Knights of New Avalon: Imagining Medieval Identities in World of Warcraft Kristen Noone and Jennifer Kavetsky 8. Accumulating Histories: A Social Practice Approach to Medievalism in High Fantasy MMORPGs Jennifer C. Stone, Peter Kudenov, and Teresa Combs 9. "Awesome Cleavage": The Genred Body in World of Warcraft Kim Wilkins Part 4: Case Study 2 – Dante's Inferno, The Game 10. The Game's Two Bodies, or the Fate of Figura in Dante's Inferno Bruno Lessard 11. Courtly e-Violence, Digital Play: Adapting Medieval Courtly Masculinities in Dante’s Inferno Oliver Chadwick 12. Shades of Dante: Virtual Bodies in Dante's Inferno Timothy J. Welsh and John T. Sebastian 13. The Middle Ages in the Depths of Hell: Pedagogical Possibility and the Past in Dante's Inferno Angela Jane Weisl and Kevin J. Stevens Part 5: Theoretical and Representational Issues in Medieval Gaming 14. We Will Travel by Map: Maps as Narrative Spaces in Videogames and Medieval Texts Thomas Rowland 15. Author, Text, and Medievalism in The Elder Scrolls Michelle DiPietro 16. Technophilia and Technophobia in Online Medieval Fantasy Games Nick Webber 17. The Consolation of Paranoia: Conspiracy, Epistemology, and the Templars in Assassin's Creed, Deus Ex, and Dragon Age Harry J. Brown Part 6: Sociality and Social Media in Medieval Gaming 18. Casual Medieval Games, Interactivity, and Social Play in Social Network and Mobile Applications Serina Patterson
Daniel T. Kline is Professor of English at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, USA.