DiGRA2015 conference are publishing a selection of the full conference papers in their new ToDiGRA journal. They asked me if I would submit my paper below.
I will but first I have to seriously revise it as I published part of it in my Critical Gaming book and as a very DH tailored paper for Digital Humanities Congress, Sheffield 2014.
Any suggestions on what I have missed or what needs improving?
Quite a bit I think! Plus I should probably have been more polemical and addressed more games.
Roleplaying and Rituals For Cultural Heritage-Orientated Games
Roles and rituals are essential for creating, situating and maintaining cultural practices. Computer Role-Playing games (CRPGs) and virtual online worlds that appear to simulate different cultures are well known and highly popular. So it might appear that the roles and rituals of traditional cultures are easily ported to computer games. However, I contend that the meaning behind worlds, rituals and roles are not fully explored in these digital games and virtual worlds and that more work needs to be done to create more moving rituals, role enrichment and worldfulness. I will provide examples from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda, 2006, 2011) to reveal some of the difficulties in creating digitally simulated social and cultural worlds, but I will also suggest some design ideas that could improve them in terms of cultural presence and social presence.