Do you like video games and/or archaeology? Do you know how video game modders go about creating historical settings? Have you ever wondered why chickens are portrayed as hilarious objects of violence in video games? Can you create agent based models that simulate Roman violence? Do you think it is possible to preserve and archive video games? Or, can cultures and traditions be shared and celebrated through games?
Do you think the answers to these and similar questions should be freely accessible to all? If you do, then please consider pledging for the publication of The Interactive Past, an Open-Access, edited volume from VALUE, with writings of a cool mix of archaeologists, historians, game developers and other professionals.
The Interactive Past book will be a result of 'The Interactive Pasts Conference' (TIP-C). This world’s first “archaeogaming” conference will be held on 4-5 April 2016 at Leiden University in the Netherlands. We already have funding, speakers, participants and everything else we need to make this meeting of minds a success, but we also would like to share the original thoughts presented there with the rest of the world. That’s where you come in.
If you fund us, you will help make the online Open-Access as well as the physical publication of The Interactive Past a reality. The reward levels over 5,- will get you the digital variant of the book, but look at our FAQ for how to get your hands on a physical copy through our publisher (at a special Kickstarter pre-order price).
Why would I enjoy reading this book?
The book will contain 12 chapters of insightful research on the interface of video games, archaeology, history and heritage. Each chapter will come with colour illustrations. Authors consist of a mix of brilliant scholars and creatives, including but not limited to:
- Tara Copplestone who will write about video games as a new media form for interpretation and communication in archaeology
- Jakub Majewski who will explore how archaeologists and heritage experts can collaborate with modding communities to deliver cultural content to the public & with the public
- Andrew Reinhard who will discuss how we can investigate video games as archaeological sites
- Erik Champion who will suggest leveraging game mechanics to help teach archaeological methods
When will the book be out?
We work with a time schedule as well as a publisher that allows us to speed up the usually slow academic publishing process significantly to bring you the hottest new ideas within a year of their presentation.
This is what the schedule looks like:
- 4-5 April 2016: The Interactive Pasts Conference
- September 2016: Deadline Draft Chapter submission & Editors' Review
- November 2016: Draft of the book online (available to backers only)
- March 2017: Print Proof
- April 2017: Publication online (available to backers only)
- May 2017: Book presentation and online publication
Who are we?
We are VALUE (Videogames and Archaeology at Leiden UnivErsity/Videogames and Archaeology’s Legendary Union of Explorers), a group of researchers based at Leiden University, who explore the intersections of archaeology and video games. Our goal is to raise awareness for the importance of this new and exciting field and showcase its research possibilities. If you would like to see some of our recent work (including scholarly papers, mini-reviews of games from an archaeological perspective, longform discussion pieces, themed streams) check out our website.
- Csilla “Caeda” Ariese-Vandemeulebroucke
- Krijn “Megalithic” Boom
- Angus “Dr. Random” Mol
- Aris “Ymir” Politopoulos
- Vincent “Jaromirr” Vandemeulebroucke
For this project we are partnering with Sidestone Press. Sidestone is an academic publishing house founded by scholars, for scholars and everyone else who values knowledge. In their own words: “As a publisher we have one clear ambition, that is to make scientific information available to all.” Sidestone started in 2007 and now have over 150 books published in a diversity of fields. Even if their publishing house has grown rapidly, they maintain a systematic and up-to-date schedule, ensuring that, if funded, the book will be delivered on time. And not unimportant, their books look the part! Have a look at their catalogue and see for yourself.
VALUE subscribes to an idea that is still a bit crazy in academia: knowledge resulting from scientific research should be free and broadly accessible. Most traditional academic publishers are not fond of Open-Access and will have authors pay through the nose for it (upwards of €9000 for a book of the size we have in mind). Not so with Sidestone. Of course, the publishing process still comes at a price, which is why we are asking you for help. We will donate our time as editors, our co-authors will donate their time to write up their experiences and findings. When the book is out you, we, Sidestone, authors, all of us can work together in sharing this book with a wide audience.
Risks and Opportunities
Although we are young, upstart academics, this is not our first entry into open-access publication, let alone our first project with a deadline. As a result, we feel confident that we can make this project a reality and make good on our delivery date, but we outline some of the risks involved in making an edited volume below. Aside from certain risks attached to this project, we also think there are a number of opportunities that come with it. Which is why we like to talk to you about our...
Thanks to you, we have hit our funding goal! But we have only scratched the surface of this Kickstarter. All additional funds will go to funding The Interactive Pasts Conference #2 and, if we get there, another edited volume. In between those deeply buried milestones, you and other backers will be able to excavate some pretty fun and exciting trinkets. How low can we go? Check out this stratigraphy-stretch goal infographic to show which goals have already been unlocked!
Risks and challenges
• Nobody ever makes a deadline in academia. Why would you?
—— We are committed to push out this book now. Even if we were cold, calculating scientists (and not passionate nerds) publishing a successfully crowd-funded book would be a huge step in our young research-careers.
• Ok, but the author of an individual chapter may fail to meet their deadline?
—— VALUE writes the introduction and conclusion, so you’re safe there. If another author falls through, we (as VALUE) have sufficient research data and ideas to (gladly!) write a chapter in their stead. In addition, the authors have already presented their research or projects at the conference, so the step to writing a chapter is small enough to warrant a great deal of optimism!
• The knowledge may be freely accessible now, but have you considered the costs of hosting this book indefinitely?
—— As archaeologists (and Nintendo-fans) we are all too aware that “everything not saved will be lost”. We are confident that this will not apply to The Interactive Past book. For starters, Sidestone makes all their books readable on Google Books. In addition, the book will be stored in Leiden University’s digital repository. Seeing that Leiden University is already over 440 years old, we are sure it and its digital archive will be around for a while.
• Other risks? We really can’t think of any…!
• Unless….what if there is an apocalyptic event and society as we know it collapses?
—— Don’t worry, even if such an event was to occur, archaeologists have seen it all before. In fact, we even have discussed this during one of our recent Streaming the Past-sessions. In addition, since the book will also be in print as a hard copy and with the intention to donate some to libraries, you will probably be able to scrounge it from some post-apocalyptic knowledge bunker.
- (30 days)