Video Games, Historical Representation and Soft Power

Donald, Iain and Webber, Nick and Wright, Esther (2024) Video Games, Historical Representation and Soft Power. Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, 15 (2). pp. 105-127. ISSN 1757-191X

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This article explores how historical video games have become tools for UK and Chinese ‘soft power’ or ‘public diplomacy’ and the role of historical representation in portraying cultural identity in the global marketplace. In the UK, state support has been introduced for games representing British culture, which are assumed to conduct cultural diplomacy (a subcategory of public diplomacy). In China, public diplomacy - ‘telling China’s stories well’ - has been central to national promotion strategies under Xi Jinping. Although the success of these approaches is visible in game companies like Tencent and NetEase, regulators remain attentive to games that reflect upon China’s history and cultural heritage.

What does this mean for historical representation in and around video games? Do nationalistic regulatory environments threaten the capacity of games to offer thoughtful or challenging engagements with the past? And how effectively is historical representation mobilised to project soft power through video games?

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
21 April 2023Accepted
30 January 2024Published Online
Subjects: CAH20 - historical, philosophical and religious studies > CAH20-01 - history and archaeology > CAH20-01-01 - history
CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham School of Media
Strategic Research Themes > Digital Technologies and Transformation (DTT)
Strategic Research Themes > Global Creativity, Culture and Heritage (GCCH)
REF Units of Assessment > REF 2028 UoA
Depositing User: Nick Webber
Date Deposited: 23 May 2023 13:23
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2024 16:16

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