I really would like some feedback in discussion in this forum about the role of history in some of the games we play and the literature we read. For one of my upcoming classes, I have been reading Utopia, Brave New World, and 1984. The last two works, particularly, have areas that focus on history and its subversion.
In Brave New World, no history survives: literature, art, facts, anything. The population is genetically conceived through ectogenesis and are indoctrinated from birth to follow certain set patterns, without deviation. One never questions what came before, and the characters even show misunderstanding at the words of Shakespeare. One character even laughs during the scene in Romeo and Juliet where Juliet's parents are preparing for her marriage to Paris. One early scene has a controller symbolically wiping history out of space.
In 1984, history is rewritten everyday, depending on the situation, to make the oligarchy look good. The history of this world never existed, an did it did, it becomes subverted almost instantly. The population never questions the rewrites and moves along as if nothing has changed.
Granted, these two novels share multiple similarities when it comes to history, because Huxley taught Orwell and they corresponded.
Now, playing through Mass Effect recently, I've noticed this idea of history popping up again. I've also noticed the caste system that appears in Brave New World, through the genocides and population eradications in Mass Effect. Mass Effect treats history as a cycle that keeps repeating itself. SPOILER ALERT: The reapers, once a civilization reaches its epoch, return and end the civilization. They are machines that act like gods. They control and write the history that the following civilization accepts, with question in the game.
Fallout 3, on the other hand, poses a different idea. Since D.C. has been laid to waist, the history of America has been lost. One of the side quests plays on this idea while you search for historical artifacts for a collector in Rivet City. The facts that the collector garners from these artifacts and other sources are, of course, distorted, but he believes in the ideas anyway. In this case, no ruling class controls the history, it has just been changed through time and circumstance.
When I get to Bioshock, I'll post my thoughts about it.
I know this is a rough idea, or amalgamation of ideas, but I hope to turn it into something feasible soon. Please, if you have any comments or ideas, post them here.