“The Feel of Sweaty Fingers” – The CH LUDENS Team’s First Memories of Digital Games

by the CH Ludens Team

How did we as scientists become what we are today? Where does our interest in digital games come from? Join us on a short autobiographical journey to the ludic beginnings of the CH LUDENS team.

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Case Study: Necronom (Lunatic Software/Linel, 1991, Amiga)

by Aurelia Brandenburg, Adrian Demleitner, Arno Görgen, Addrich Mauch, and Eugen Pfister

Monsters, space, and guns all wrapped up in a shoot-em-up – Necronom, published by Linel in 1991, first got high praises in 1990, but then never took off the way first reports in the press anticipated. With this case study, our team tried to trace the game’s development, its strange course of reception and its contents itself.

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Of Bare Chested Men and Violence: Barbarians and War in 1980s games and press coverage

by Aurelia Brandenburg and Adrian Demleitner

This text traces a joint inquiry into a loose link between bare chested men as protagonists and the depiction of violence in 1980s video games. For this analysis, we collaborated from our respective perspectives from historical and design research. Aurelia Brandenburg has a background in history, digital humanities and gender studies and Adrian Demleitner in software studies and design research. Our focus was on the reception as well as visual semantics of video games that used barbarian- or soldier-themed characters.

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Confoederatio Ludens at the Games & Literature Festival in Marbach

by Eugen Pfister and Adrian Demleitner

From 28th to 30th June 2023, the German Literature Archive Marbach has organized a conference on “Games & Literature. On the literacity, research, collection, and archiving of computer games”. The idea for this conference came because, since 2019, the Literaturarchiv has been collecting not only German-language literature but also digital games if they “contain narrative structures to a high degree.”1 In the words of the call for presentations: “The substantive reasons for this decision are numerous, but, fundamentally, computer games have long been part of our cultural memory, which must be archived appropriately and examined in relation to established cultural forms.”2 Accordingly, the self-imposed goal of the conference was to discuss with international colleagues issues of collecting and archiving digital games, as well as research questions concerning the nexus between digital games and literature. Even if the claim turned out to be a little too ambitious in retrospect, a very exciting and fruitful exchange took place. Over three days, more than thirty colleagues from three continents presented their research, and we were honoured that our project was represented by four colleagues: The second day was opened by René Bauer and Beat Suter from the ZHdK with their keynote “Considerations for Archiving Games. From the Perspective of Game Design”. And on the third day, Eugen Pfister and Adrian Demleitner from HKB presented our joint historical database of games developed in the DACH region up to 2000: “Why we thought it was a good idea to build a DACH games database.”

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  1. https://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/games/deutsches-literaturarchiv-marbach-sammelt-kuenftig-auch-computerspiele-a-1255563.html []
  2. https://www.dla-marbach.de/forschung/verbund-marbach-weimar-wolfenbuettel/tagung-literature-games/ []

Working with Amiga Floppy Disks in Historical Video Game Research

by Adrian Demleitner

Like most humanity scholars and historians, we work with historical materials that we compile into a corpus. How does this approach apply to researching digital-born media, such as video games designed for the Amiga computing system?

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