Return to the Interactive Past: the interplay of video games and histories

Return to the Interactive Past offers a fascinating introduction to some of the key topics surrounding the intersection of video games / interactive media and heritage. This book, a follow-on to the 2017 publication, The Interactive Past, explores the many ways in which games and heritage interact, including the representation of heritage within digital media, the creation of heritage materials as part of video game creation, and video games themselves as heritage and the ways in which they can be studied.

As an entry point to the many-faceted discussions surrounding video games and heritage, this book offers an accessible and varied glimpse into how the field is developing, raising the voices of those otherwise marginalised within both archaeology and video games, and exploring the tensions and opportunities inherent in representing history within games. This is achieved through a collection of chapters written by a diverse group of contributors, covering all manner of topics, from the use of virtual reality to capture disappearing heritage sites, to understanding the creation of ‘digital artefacts’ (early video games), and the tension between ‘accuracy and authenticity’.

With take-aways that will leave readers reassessing the ways in which modern media interacts with and produces artefacts and broader history, this book is a good starting point for anyone who enjoys, or wishes to learn more about, the relationship between video games and archaeology.

Review by John McCord.
Return to the Interactive Past: the interplay of video games and histories, Csilla E Ariese-Vandemeulebroucke et al Sidestone Press, £35 ISBN 978-9088909122.