Wednesday, February 9, 2011

EXP Podcast #116: A Classic Conversation

We have traveled the world far and wide and brought back with us a special guest for this week's show. Joining us on this very special podcast is Professor Roger Travis from the University of Connecticut. In both his educational and literary work, Roger takes a fascinating interdisciplinary approach to games, history, and classics. Who could be more suited, then, to discuss Russian plans to retell national mythologies in videogames? Join us this week while we discuss practomime, games based learning, cold war villains, bardic storytelling, and the Arbiter. As always, we encourage you to leave your thoughts in the comments section below. You can also find the original article and more of Roger's work in the show notes.

Discussion starters:

- Does does historical nostalgia manifest itself in video games?
- Do game makers have an obligation to accurately portray history?
- What are the narrative confines of heroic mythologies in games?
To listen to the podcast:

- Subscribe to the EXP Podcast via iTunes here. Additionally, here is the stand-alone feed.
- Listen to the podcast in your browser by left-clicking the title. Or, right-click and select "save as link" to download the show in MP3 format.
- Subscribe to this podcast and EXP's written content with the RSS link on the right.

Show Notes:

- Run time: 64 min 13 sec
- "Russia wants to ban Cold War villains from games," by Shaun Walker via The Independent
- Video Games and Human Values Initiative
- Living Epic
- Play The Past
- Music provided by Brad Sucks


  1. Is it me, or do both links lead to ITunes? Is there a direct download anywhere?

  2. @falling

    Thanks for the catch. The feeder link is now fixed. If you want to download directly, just right click the title of this post and "Save Link As" (or whatever corresponding term it is for your OS).

  3. Really great episode guys, fascinating stuff. It didn't get long-winded at any point, despite the hour-long run time.

    Loved hearing about Roger's methods in the classroom--I've always wondered how successful a gaming system would be in education and it seems like it's working for him. Although, I had always envisioned a more meta-experience, rather than basically playing D'n'D. You know, levelling up with assignments being handed in, gaining experience points for helping out fellow classmates, etc. Could also apply to businesses and management as well. Surely someone's implemented something like this somewhere?

  4. Two quick thoughts:

    1.The Russian reaction to the Modern Warfare level was if anything a mild one and in many ways a natural one.
    They have had frequent terrorist attacks in recent years' including multiple ones against airports. I can't begin to imagine the furor which would brew up if there was a Russian game released where you played a Russia agent in a terrorist cell taking part on a attack on London, or New York.

    2.The American Army game (although multi-player only) seems a pretty obvious example of a game as propaganda.

    have you heard of the iPhone app epic win?
    It doesn't quite fit what your envisioning but it is a example of a Gamification of a to do list.

  5. Hey Phill,

    Strangely enough Mom listened to the podcast (?!) and told me one of my brother's grade school teachers did a "real life" Oregon trail where the kids had to role play the journey. They even had to take turns on a stationary bike to simulate the number of miles (or an approximation) for certain legs of the journey. That sounded pretty cool, as long as you don't die of dysentery.

    Hey Codicier,

    Good points! The only big-name company that regularly shows America as vulnerable ugly light that I can think of is Rockstar. I believe the GTA games are led by the UK team as well...