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Video: Stanford seminars examine the societal impact of games

March 31, 2015 | By Alex Wawro

Studying games can tell us quite a bit about the people who play them, both in contemporary society and in ages past -- but how do we preserve games so that future generations can understand them?

It's a question that Stanford archivist Henry Lowood has been wrestling with for years, and he spoke at length about the value of approaching games as a historian might during a recent presentation (embedded above) about the history of games.

His talk was part of Stanford's Interactive Media & Games Summit, an ongoing series of open lectures from notable speakers about how games intersect with art, history, healthcare, education and other aspects of society and culture.

University staff are uploading video recordings of the lectures to YouTube, adding them to a playlist that currently encompasses everything from Funomena's Robin Hunicke ruminating on how games can expand to Spore designer Chaim Gingold detailing how sociological studies meaningfully affected the SimCity code.

These lectures are typically light on technical details because they're aimed at a wider audience than game developers, but that same distance affords viewers an intriguing perspective into how games are being integrated with other aspects of society. 

It's much akin to what Wild Rumpus queen roughhouser Marie Foulston and other event organizers spoke about at GDC 2014 during a panel discussion on the new wave of video game events cropping up in places like libraries, art festivals and nightclubs.

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