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Manchester Game Centre Online Interview With Abraham Fernández Pichel

Manchester Game Centre Online Interview With Abraham Fernández Pichel

Dr Abraham Fernández Pichel was recently interviewed by Dr Jenny Cromwell from the Manchester Game Center about the Egypopcult project! They discussed the direction of the Egypopcult project and how Ancient Egypt is represented in contemporary popular culture, including games!

Consult the link to the full interview here: Interview with Dr Abraham I. Fernández Pichel about Egypopcult! — Manchester Game Centre

 

 

Selected excerpts from the interview:

Egypopcult is the designation of a project that brings together two focal points of interest: on the one hand, Ancient Egypt and, on the other, contemporary pop culture. Thus, Egypopcult uses films, TV series, comic books, horror and fantasy literature, board games, role-playing games and computer games, among others, as sources of study and research. The main objective is to analyse the different contemporary visions of Ancient Egypt through the aforementioned cultural productions, i.e., how Ancient Egypt is recreated in today’s popular and entertainment culture.

“The origin of this project, which is absolutely pioneering as far as funding by a public institution is concerned, is relatively recent. It stems, on the one hand, from my own work as an Egyptologist specialising in Egyptian religion and temple inscriptions from the Greco-Roman period in Egypt and, on the other, from my love of literature, comics and cinema. Over the decades, I have watched, read and compiled numerous audiovisual and literary works in which ancient Egypt plays a fundamental or simply incidental role. That is why Egypopcult is, in a way, the union of my two usual activities: one is work and academic, and the other is the one to which I devote a large part of my free time. Thanks to the funding we have obtained, we have managed to ensure that both now have a place in the academic sphere.”

Games are an essential part of the entertainment culture that is integrated into the sources used in the Egypopcult project. The reason for this lies not so much in questions of game dynamics, but mainly in the use of often complex narratives set in ancient Egypt or using Egyptian characters and artefacts. Whether in board games, role-playing games or computer games, the plots that articulate the players’ experiences and decisions throughout the game are constructed through complex narratives that consciously elaborate a particular vision of the past. I have personally played some of the great Egyptian-inspired games, such as Assassin’s Creed, or the role-playing games of the World of Darkness universe, as well as various board games. This led me to be aware of the narrative potential of these works, whose interest for the objectives of the project is fundamental.

“In general, I think that the majority of popular Egyptianised or Egyptomania culture products, regardless of the precise medium (games, films, comics, TV series…), rely on a series of precise leitmotifs, such as pyramids, mummies, curses, adventures, secret passages, millenary ruins… What games generally provide that, at least partially, other products do not allow us is the possibility of taking on an active role in the adventure. The player of Assassin’s Creed Origins, Ankh, or World of Darkness faces his own decisions in an environment inspired by ancient Egypt and intervenes as an active subject in the construction of the story. This performative and interactive dimension is a different approach to the past, which undoubtedly enriches our personal experience of ancient Egypt.”

Author: Jennifer Cromwell, Reader in Ancient History, Manchester Centre for Youth Studies.

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Project Manager

Abraham I. Fernández Pichel

Researchers

Abraham I. Fernández Pichel - Rogério Sousa - Eleanor Dobson - Filip Taterka - Guillermo Juberías Gracia - José das Candeias Sales
Nuno Simões Rodrigues - Samuel Fernández-Pichel - Sara Woodward - Tara Sewell-Lasater - Thomas Gamelin – Leire Olabarría
Alfonso Álvarez-Ossorio - Jean-Guillaume Olette-Pelletier - Marc Orriols-Llonch


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The Egypopcult Project is hosted by the Center for History of the University of Lisbon.