Whilst rummaging through the university library (JB Morrell) for dissertation research I have definitely realised that exploring other departments to your own has it’s benefits. I have just come across these awesome books (academic of course!) in the computer science department.
As I am doing an MSc in Digital Heritage, and I have a passion for gaming it seems natural that my dissertation topic will be on gaming in heritage. It will be based on looking at the benefits and limitations of using virtual reality for the exploration and interpretation of the pre-Dissolution cultural heritage of St Mary’s Abbey in York, and will possibly be submitting a proposal for my own game based on this research. I’m thinking Dear Esther style…
Hence my venturing out of the humanities departments! But I think it is important to cross the disciplinary boundaries, particularly in cultural heritage, archaeology and art/architectural history. These disciplines seem very traditional in their ways and have only started to use computing technologies since the 90’s as new ways of presenting and disseminating research and interpretations to the public. I think this is great, however there is always the risk of “popularising” the discipline by using “blockbuster” visual media as a way to appeal to a none-academic audience. I am personally highly supportive in those who want to blend art and science in their research as it offers us new ways of looking at cultural heritage, however I would love to see more heritage related gaming as it’s a very overlooked area of learning that has so much potential.
For more on this topic I would consult Katy Meyer’s article (Oct 25th 2011) on Play the Past as it provides a great argument for how we can learn from Assassin’s Creed in the creation of educational computer games.