Games for Cultural Heritage
This paper investigates how digital media and screen-based navigation can be utilised to provide engagement with prehistory. In light of the importance of material remains and the increased pressure of tourism, it is important to find creative solutions to physical visitation that continue to provide meaningful experiences for visitors. Rather than revisiting the more familiar questions of digital preservation and conservation, the paper explores how multimedia game techniques can be applied to create compelling cultural experiences. Rethinking digital interaction for cultural heritage is located in the architecture of Mnajdra, a Maltese Megalithic temple and recent work by game researchers and archaeologists. Drawing on the work of archaeologists including Tilly and Turnbull, the paper proposes that the role of spatial navigation and performance is central to an understanding of the past (Tilly 2004, Turnbull 2002). It proposes that spatial categories emerge from the performance of movement in both physical and digital spaces. Using methodologies from computer game design, the paper argues that considerations of spatial navigation and visual perception are important for identifying end-user interaction with digital heritage. Describing temple morphology and forms of user embodiment, the paper addresses how the visitor might interact with prehistory through the construction of interactive scenarios that create cultural and social presence. It demonstrates how visualisation techniques can be developed for an exploration of temple spaces that speak to and encourage a more phenomenological informed encounter with the past. Such concerns are formative ones for the crossover between archaeology, heritage research and digital media. New knowledge in this area contributes to further understanding of the procedures international communities might use to construct new modes of engagement for cultural heritage. This research is also applicable to the development of protocols for sharing heritage material across international archaeological communities, museums and commercial ventures.
Proceedings of the IADIS Internatiomal Conference e-Society 2005