Mini journal logo  Home Issue Contents All Issues

An Approach to the Ethics of Archaeogaming

Shawn Graham

Cite this as: Graham, S. 2020 An Approach to the Ethics of Archaeogaming, Internet Archaeology 55. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.55.2

Summary

Virtual worlds are human worlds thus ethical places/spaces. Through an authethnography of play, I try to surface and contextualize some of what I see as the ethical issues that archaeogaming presents, which I frame as provocations for further discussion. What defines 'archaeogaming' is our identity as archaeologists, and so the ethics of archaeogaming must be the ethics of archaeology; ethics are not integral to a game but emerge at the intersection of play and design.

An in-game view of the buried temple in the first village encountered in the world generated in Minecraft 1.6.4 using the 'Double Village' seed in 'creative mode'.
  • Google Scholar
  • Keywords: archaeogaming, ethics, Minecraft, play, digital public archaeology
  • Accepted: 5 May 2020. Published: 18 May 2020
  • Funding: tbc

Corresponding author: Shawn GrahamORCID logo
ShawnGraham@cunet.carleton.ca
Carleton University

Full text

Video 1: An in-game view of the buried temple in the first village encountered in the world generated in Minecraft 1.6.4 using the 'Double Village' seed in 'creative mode'. In this view, excavation has commenced in a section against the temple tower wall.

Video 2: The 'Double Village' seed generates a slightly different world in 'survival mode', spacing the village and the temple slightly further apart. The temple is easier to access, but still contains monsters and traps.

2k Games 2007 Bioshock. https://2k.com/en-US/game/bioshock-the-collection/

Bogost, I. 2007 Persuasive games: the expressive power of videogames, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/5334.001.0001

Breger, C. 2008 'Digital Digs, or Lara Croft Replaying Indiana Jones: Archaeological Tropes and Colonial Loops in New Media Narrative', Aether: The Journal of Media Geography II, 41-60. https://web.archive.org/web/20091112184348/http://geogdata.csun.edu/~aether/volume_02.html

Castronova, E. 2005 Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Caulfield, M. 2018 'In the web's hyperreality, information is experience', hapgood.us [blog] https://hapgood.us/2018/11/20/in-the-webs-hyperreality-information-is-experience/ Accessed December 1, 2018.

Cook Island Tribal Council (CITC) 2017 'Storytelling for the next generation: How a non-profit in Alaska harassed the power of video games to share and celebrate cultures' in A. Mol, C.E. Ariese-Vandemeulebroucke, K.H.J. Boom, and A.Politopoulos (eds) The Interactive Past: Archaeology, heritage, and video games, Leiden: Sidestone Press. 21-32.

Copplestone, T. 2017 'Designing and Developing a Playful Past in Video-Games' in A. Mol, C.E. Ariese-Vandemeulebroucke, K.H.J. Boom, and A.Politopoulos (eds) The Interactive Past: Archaeology, heritage, and video games, Leiden: Sidestone Press. 85-98.

Crawford, K. and Joler, V. 2018 'Anatomy of an AI System', https://anatomyof.ai Accessed December 1, 2018.

Dennis, L. M. n.d. 'Archaeogaming?', Gingerygamer.com [blog] http://gingerygamer.com/index.php/archaeogaming/ Accessed December 1, 2018.

Dennis, L. 2016 'Archaeogaming, Ethics, and Participatory Standards', SAA Archaeological Record 16(5), 29-34. http://onlinedigeditions.com/publication/?i=356358

Dennis, L. M. 2019 Archaeological Ethics, Video-Games, and Digital Archaeology: A Qualitative Study on Impacts and Intersections, PhD thesis, University of York. http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/24400/

Flick, C.L., Dennis, M. and Reinhard, A. 2017 'Exploring Simulated Game Worlds: Ethics in the No Man’s Sky Archaeological Survey', The Orbit Journal 1(2). https://doi.org/10.29297/orbit.v1i2.46

Floridi, L. 2003 'On the intrinsic value of information objects and the Infosphere', Ethics and Information Technology 4(4), 287-304. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021342422699

Gaertner, D. 2018 'Best Practices for Approaching Indigenous New Media', novelalliances.com [blog]. https://novelalliances.com/2018/11/26/best-practices-for-approaching-indigenous-new-media/ Accessed December 1, 2018.

Government of Ontario Industries and Jobs with Exemptions or Special Rules - Information Technology https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/tools/srt/coverage_government_it.php , last reviewed 2011; Ontario Regulation. 285/01: EXEMPTIONS, SPECIAL RULES AND ESTABLISHMENT OF MINIMUM WAGE under Employment Standards Act, 2000, S.O. 2000, c. 41, e-laws currency date 2014. Accessed December 1, 2018.

Majewski, J. 2017 'The Potential for Modding Communities in Cultural Heritage' in A. Mol, C.E. Ariese-Vandemeulebroucke, K.H.J. Boom, and A.Politopoulos (eds) The Interactive Past: Archaeology, heritage, and video games, Leiden: Sidestone Press. 185-206.

Meyers, K. 2011 'The Adventuring Archaeologist Trope. Play the Past', playthepast.org [blog] http://www.playthepast.org/?p=1635 Accessed December 1, 2018.

Meyers Emery, K. and Reinhard, A. 2016 'Trading Shovels for Controllers: A Brief Exploration of the Portrayal of Archaeology in Video Games', Public Archaeology 14(2), 137–149. http://doi.org/10.1080/14655187.2015.1112693

Mojang 2011 Minecraft. https://www.minecraft.net/

Morgan, C. 2009 'Fake dead people', MiddleSavagery [blog] https://middlesavagery.wordpress.com/2009/01/12/fake-dead-people/ Accessed December 1, 2018.

Reinhard, A. 2013 'What is archaeogaming? ', Archaeogaming.com [blog] https://archaeogaming.com/2013/06/09/what-is-archaeogaming/ Accessed December 1, 2018.

Reinhard, A. 2015 'Review of Never Alone [game]', Internet Archaeology 38. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.38.6

Reinhard, A. 2018 Archaeogaming: An Introduction to Archaeology In and Of Video Games, New York: Berghahn Books. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctvw04bb5

Reinhard, A. 2019 Archaeology of Digital Environments: Tools, Methods, and Approaches, PhD thesis, University of York. http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/26499/

Richardson, L. 2020, 2 April 'I start by acknowledging the horrific human cost of the Corvid-19 pandemic & the dedication of our underfunded, under resourced healthcare services. My paper today is about digital tech & the environment, & reflects on the structural effects of current isolation 1/20 #DHGoesVIRAL' [Twitter thread], https://twitter.com/lornarichardson/status/1245686976164122626 Accessed May 14, 2020.

SAA Archaeological Record 2016 Video Games and Archaeology, November 2016 , Volume 16(5). http://onlinedigeditions.com/publication/?i=356358

SAA Archaeological Record 2017 Video Games and Archaeology, Part Two, March 2017, Volume 17(2). http://onlinedigeditions.com/publication/?m=16146&i=392992&p=1

Sicart, M. 2009 The ethics of computer games, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/9780262012652.001.0001

Square Enix 2016 Rise of the Tomb Raider. https://tombraider.square-enix-games.com/

Travis, R. 2013 'Epic life: Describing immersion', playthepast.org [blog] http://www.playthepast.org/?p=3631 Accessed December 1, 2018.

Urrichio, W. 2005 'Simulation, history, and computer games' in J. Raessens and J. Goldstein (eds) Handbook of computer game studies, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 327-340.

Internet Archaeology is an open access journal. Except where otherwise noted, content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY) Unported licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that attribution to the author(s), the title of the work, the Internet Archaeology journal and the relevant URL/DOI are given.

Terms and Conditions | Legal Statements | Privacy Policy | Cookies Policy | Citing IA

Internet Archaeology content is preserved for the long term with the Archaeology Data Service. Help sustain and support open access publication by donating to our Open Access Archaeology Fund.