Historical Video Games in the Context of Public History: Strategies for Reconstruction, Deconstruction and Politization of History


Historical Video Games Politicization of History Screen Media Mass Historical Consciousness Historical Reconstructions Memory Politics Mythologizing History Public History Anti-Sovietism Deconstruction of History

How to Cite

Belyaev, D., & Belyaeva, U. (2022). Historical Video Games in the Context of Public History: Strategies for Reconstruction, Deconstruction and Politization of History. Galactica Media: Journal of Media Studies, 4(1), 51-70. https://doi.org/10.46539/gmd.v4i1.204


Today, historical video games going beyond the boundaries of the purely entertainment framework of screen media are increasingly influencing the formation of the public history infosphere. The aim of the study is a comprehensive analysis of historical video games as a tool for constructing mass historical consciousness and the implementation of ideologized strategies for the politics of memory. Methodologically, the work is based on the concepts of “public history infosphere” and “politics of memory”, as well as the historical method and classification approach. In addition, elements of comparative analysis, the method of narrative research of cultural artifacts and the optics of I. Bogost’s procedural rhetoric are used.

The study determines the specificity and nature of broadcasting historical plots in the context of procedural actualization of video game narratives. Starting from the interactive-procedural nature of video games, the original possibilities and objective constraints in the reproduction of “stories about the past” are revealed. It is demonstrated that the programmatic and subjective-user modalities of a video game existence endow it with rhizome and nomadic characteristics. Video game architectonics has an intention to deconstruct the “metaphysics of presence” and the main repressive instances characteristic of traditional historical narrative. At the same time, based on the concept of simulations by G. Frasca, three main formats of historical video game reconstructions are revealed: factual (plot and setting), logical-dynamic and hybrid. The article identifies the most common ways of distorting, mythologizing and politicizing history in video games. Special attention is paid to the explication of the ideologized concept of “anti-Sovietism” in video game plots, as a form of quasi-historical criticism of the Soviet regime and the continuation of the rhetoric of the “Cold War”.

The results of the study can be used in the expert assessment of the space of public history, in the identification of relevant media tools and meaningful concepts that form its semantic framework. In addition, certain conclusions are essential for the effective correction of memory policy strategies implemented in screen digital media.



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