Phantasmagorien des Krieges: Authentizitätsstrategien, affektive Historizität und der antike Krieg im modernen Computerspiel
This paper deals with the aesthetic and sensory representation of ancient war and war-related violence in modern video games. Focusing on the well-known video game series “Total War” and those games set in ancient times (“Rome: Total War”, “Total War: Rome II”, “Total War: Attila”), the paper analyses the strategies employed by game developers to produce a sense of historicity in the player. By combining factual accuracy in the graphical representation of archeological minutiae, incorporating well-known narrative, visual and contextual tropes of antiquity, utilizing visually resplendent and almost photorealistic graphics and incorporating acoustic clues such as spoken Latin and a soundtrack reminiscent of film classics, the game developers are successful at achieving ‘affective historicity’ (Winnerling 2014) – an acceptance on the player’s part of the game setting’s historic authenticity based on a combination of sensory impulses rather than a strict adherence to historical fact by game developers.
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