The Curious Expedition

The Curious Expedition is a disturbing portrait of the colonial mind

I could think of any number of better titles for The Curious Expedition. Here’s a few: Colonialism Simulator 1900; Literal Tomb Raider; Uncharted 5: The White Man’s Burden. Virtually anything seems better than the title the game actually has. You do embark on an expedition every time you play it—an adventure into foreign jungles on the other side of the world, where priceless treasures, golden pyramids, and possibly dinosaurs lie in wait. But “curious” seems like an incredibly inappropriate word for what you end up doing there. You will almost always encounter a tribe of “natives”—language and culture unspecified, because…


Dutch videogame maker aims to confront Europe’s colonial past

Herald’s narrative revolves largely around one question: How does your cultural heritage influence your identity? For many—including the point-and-click period drama’s protagonist, Devan Rensburg—it’s a complicated question, made even more complicated by the world’s history of colonialism. The “violent cultural clash” of colonialism plays a massive part in the complexity of the multiracial identity; and those complexities are what Herald aims to take on, through the eyes of the in-game ship’s (the HLV Herald) mixed-race steward. Wispfire cites a certain urgency in putting out this game now, in this cultural climate. Race and immigration are at the forefront of many political…


A board game about Indian colonialism from the creators of Somewhere

Even in board game form, games by Studio Oleomingus are simply mesmerizing. The team behind Somewhere, a surreal stealth game set in an alternate world version of colonial India, have started work on an unnamed historical project about running a Portugese colony in 17th century Goa. In a recent post about the project, Oleomingus provides a series of mockups detailing their German-style board game influences and diving into how the game works. The map is dotted with vibrantly colored squares, representing the majestic palaces you’ve built up and the different resources there are to extract: cotton, wood, gold, grain, and…


Herald, an interactive period drama, to examine biracial identities in the colonial era

In our increasingly globalized society, the question “where are you from” has gotten mighty complicated for people. While it used to incite some inoffensive small talk, the question now raises a litany of asterisks and asides. For some, it even carries racist undertones, seen as a less direct way of asking “why don’t you look like the rest of us?” For myself, getting asked where I come from either requires me to lie for brevity’s sake or to recount the entirety of my family history: “I was born in Brazil and spent a lot of my childhood there—but my schooling…


This strange virtual world is a peek inside its designer’s mind

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article misrepresented MacLarty’s motivations. It has been revised following a discussion with him. Videogame designer Ian MacLarty recently took part in a game jam, as part of the Freeplay festival in Australia, that was themed upon diversity, multiplicity and culture. It was called, appropriately, the Multiplicity Jam. MacLarty was inspired by the speakers at the festival, who talked about their own cultural identity and the value of diversity, to reflect on his relationship with his connection to Australia, where he has lived for the past decade, as well as his upbringing in South Africa. The result…