The Troubles with Game History: Objects and Game Play

Interactive media and games increasingly pervade and shape our society. In addition to their dominant roles in entertainment, videogames play growing roles in education, arts, science and health. These talks bring together a diverse set of experts to provide interdisciplinary perspectives on these media regarding their history, technologies, scholarly research, industry, artistic value and potential future. As the speakers and title suggest, the series also provides a topical lens for the diverse aspects of our lives.

Join us every TUESDAY From March 29th until May 31st from 12pm-1pm in the Braun Lecture Hall inside of the Seeley G. Mudd Chemistry Building.

Can’t make it to the talk, but have a question for Eric? Submit your question HERE and it will be asked. By submitting your question, you’re allowing mediaX to use and record your submission.

Also listed as one-unit course BIOE196. For more information contact

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Eric Kaltman

Eric Kaltman, The Troubles with Game History: Objects and Game Play. Exploring the technical and design history of games is difficult due to the precarious nature of historical digital objects. Systems fail, documentation is lost, and there is not yet a unified sense of games as an art form deserving of in-depth historical exploration. Much work needs to be done in preserving and documenting historical games and this work hinges on re-conceptualizing what we mean when we refer to games as played objects, and the game play that results from them. This talk addresses some fundamental issues in game preservation, shows what studying games as technical objects can revel about their histories, and posits that the future of game history will be rooted not in game objects alone but also in the documentation of their gameplay.

Eric Kaltman is a PhD candidate in Computer Science in the Expressive Intelligence Studio at UC Santa Cruz. He is currently the project manager for the IMLS-funded Game and Metadata Citation Project, a collaboration between Stanford University Library and UCSC to further understanding of games in institutional collections. His work explores interventions in the historical narratives surrounding games, and deals with the practical challenges of documenting their history through software preservation and tools for legacy software analysis.