Hossein Mohammadzade began his academic research in game studies with his thesis for his master’s degree in English Language and Literature at the University of Guilan. He is now an independent scholar, and he studies television and videogames. His main area of interest is the relationship between ideology, narrative, and videogames.
Revisiting Schools in Magic Gameworlds: Political Magic Representing Politicized Science
FROG 2021 – Talk
Atefe Najjar Mansoor (Independent Scholar)
The vocabulary that is used to describe the process of learning magic is often similar to what is used to describe science. For instance, this is seen in two major videogames when magic is “studied” and the mages usually seek more “knowledge.” There are different “schools” of witchers in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and the mages in the “College” of Winterhold use spell “books” and “libraries,” and do “experiments” to learn magic in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. However, this is not the only similarity between science and magic in these gameworlds. For example, magic is often political and mages are used by politicians. There are characters that fear magic, associate it with the divine, and assume that some individuals are born with a talent for it, almost in the same way that people have perceived science and scientists at times. Therefore, this study argues that the resemblance between the two concepts hints at a symbolic meaning. The political magic in these gameworlds could represent politicized science in the physical world, and associating magic with science could have political implications. It also argues that studying how characters perceive or interact with magic in these videogames could lead to understanding how people engage with science in modern societies, how they understand it, mystify it, possibly even fear it or distort it into a modern religion, and how they believe and spread misinformation. Moreover, doing so could also help understand the relationship between ideology and science, and challenge the notion of apolitical science.