Digital Humanities
@ Pratt

Inquiries into culture, meaning, and human value meet emerging technologies and cutting-edge skills at Pratt Institute's School of Information

Designing for Reflection: Walden, a game and the Case for Slow Digital Humanities

Screenshot from Walden: A Game


While more and more attention is being paid to slow things down—slow food, slow TV, etc.—should we be also creating a “slow digital humanities?” Walden, a game, a video game adaptation of Thoreau’s experiences at Walden Pond, prioritizes slowness, reflection and deliberate action. Exploring how that is manifested in the rules and world of the game will demonstrate ways that slowing down can benefit digital humanities projects. The affordances of video games, embodiment of arguments and experiential learning, can strengthen humanistic practices in digital humanities. And the player-centric approach of video games can teach digital humanities methods of designing for reflection in our projects. Ultimately, while not every digital humanities project will benefit from a “slow” approach, through examining how Thoreau’s ideals are embedded in the game we will begin to understand what sort of arguments call for a slow interactive experience.

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