Imagining and Deciphering Writing Systems for Games

The lovely people at Eurogamer have let me get my archaeology and linguistics all over their website again. Here’s an article on invented writing-systems in video games and the window-dressing vs puzzle approaches:


Also, if you enjoyed this, a reminder that I did an in-depth thing on the writing-systems of Zelda right here on Ancient Worlds.


New (Old) Posts!

UntitledAround the end of my PhD I wrote several articles for the Cambridge Classics Faculty’s postgraduate blog, Res Gerendae. I’ve now imported these into Ancient Worlds so all my stuff is available in one place.

Please check out the archives from before 2016 to read about everything from sea-monsters and mummies to making bronze swords.

Please note, I’ll be working through these to fix tags and categories and make sure they fit the Ancient Worlds template, but for now some things may be a little messy. Please bear with me.

Cambridge Festival of Ideas: the Ancient Worlds Highlights

ideasfestThe Cambridge Festival of Ideas runs from 17th to the 30th October. It’s one of the University’s biggest outreach events and has a wide range of talks, workshops and events open to everybody. A lot of them are specifically design to be family- or child friendly. If you’re in or around Cambridge, I highly recommend checking it out.

The full events list is available on the website, but here are a few things that might be of particular interest to this blog’s readers:

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Making Ugaritic tablets 1

I’m about to start a research project into the context of the emergence and use of the Ugaritic writing system in the Late Bronze Age city of Ugarit, on the coast of what’s now Syria. This will be a very interdisciplinary undertaking, blending linguistics, epigraphy, ancient history and archaeology, and is something I’m very excited about. The Ugaritic language and script, though, is not one I currently know (though I do have some experience with Phoenician, which is a related language, but uses a different writing system). What this means is that I have the happy task of learning Ugaritic and its alphabetic cuneiform script (and a bit of Akkadian, just for a bonus).

It quickly became apparent as I practised writing out the cuneiform that it’s slow and cumbersome to have to keep drawing the little triangles on paper and that it would be much more efficient – and authentic – to use a stylus and clay. For my first attempt I used plasticine and a makeshift stylus made out of Lego.


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Classics and Geek-Culture Round-up

As anyone who read my Via Memoriae Classicae series or my Atlantis review will know, I’m a shameless geek and very interested in the intersection between Classics and things like Science Fiction, Fantasy and video games. I’ve not got anything major to post at the moment, but here are a couple of things around the webt that have caught my eye lately and may be of interest:

Back in July Liz Bourke posted over on the well-respected SF online magazine site Strange Horizons, reviewing the then-recent conference on the Fantastika and the Classical World.

Meanwhile, over the summer a new blog called Archaeogaming has been set up, looking at the depiction of archaeology in video games. It’s worth a look, particularly a 5-part article by Cambridge alumnus (now lecturer at Kent) Dunstan Lowe on ruins in video games (reprinted from his contribution to the book Greek and Roman Games in the Computer Age).