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/ []
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