Archaeologists are often represented within fiction based media as daring, fedora wearers and whip wielders. What archaeologists do in their spare time is none of my business. But I wanted to take a look at how archaeologists are imagined in game design, from how they look, to how they act. I will only be talking about a select few video games but Archaeogaming (a very good Blog) has a list of 33 video games, and the representation of archaeologists within them.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Lara Croft is potentially one of the most famous female ‘archaeologists’ especially within the gaming world. While the Tomb Raider game series are amazing, where is Lara’s safety gear? No hardhat. No kneepads! Her knees would have been knackered by now. Her boots look sturdy though! You can read all the archaeology of tomb raider in this blog here.
Harrison Jones: World of Warcraft
Clearly a parody of Indiana Jones, the man everyone thinks you want to be when you’re studying an archaeology degree. His whole design annoyed me the moment I started his quests at Uldaman. Could no one conceive a more imaginative design than Indiana Jones?
This just shocked me. No archaeologist would swing from an ancient statue. It needs recording, conserving and studying for years on end.
Archaeology is destruction but this is too far. Blizzard, this just breaks my heart.
Gunther: Stardew Valley
As previously stated in another post, Gunther creeps me out but I’m not sure why. As the town archaeologist, he looks more like a colourful sheriff you’d find in a western. Why does every archaeologists have to have a fedora-like hat? I will say props to him though for wearing gloves whilst handling the clearly delicate artefacts.
What is great about Minecraft Skins is that the people who make them aren’t usually game designers so there may be some variety. However, when I searched for and archaeologist skin I found nothing. I had to misspell ‘archeologist’ in order to find skins that then echoed Indiana Jones. Below is a design by Gogglesquizz, mimicking the first image that springs to mind when you think of an archaeologist.
I then had an idea to make my own minecraft skins based on real archaeologists. Phil Harding and the late great Mick Aston. The faces of Time Team!
Phil Harding in Minecraft!
The lovable Phil Harding, now in Minecraft! Though he is another one that reinforces the hat fashions of archaeologists.
Mick Aston in Minecraft!
The late great Mick Aston, a personal hero. This is a real archaeologists with no whips or guns or swinging off statues but still has an air of mad professor about him.
I understand that video games need an element of fun, daring adventure but the thing about archaeology is that it is full of wonder, mystery and discovery and the people that pursue it are often some of the funniest, wackiest and interesting people you will ever meet. It would be nice for these people to be represented in their true light once in a while.