23 Oct 2023
18:15  - 19:45

Alte Universität, Rheinsprung 9, 4051 Basel, Seminar room -201

Public event

The Virtual East: Eastern European Video Game Landscapes

Public Lecture by Gernot Howanitz (Universität Innsbruck)

Playing videogames necessarily entails interacting with virtual “Game Spaces”, the design, quality, and uniqueness of which greatly impacts the recipient’s experience. Often, players are confronted with prototypical fantastic landscapes full of dragons, orks, and elves, as it is the case in, for example, the recent critically acclaimed blockbuster “Baldur’s Gate 3”. However, sometimes players appear to long for bleak spaces, muted colors, derelict industrial landscapes or urban environments abundant with concrete, monumental statues or Soviet-era cars. Thus, decidedly Eastern European-looking games – as for example the S.T.A.L.K.E.R and Metro series or Disco Elysium, the 2019 surprise indie hit – can be tremendously successful as well.


After providing a brief overview of game space theories, Gernot Howanitz will analyze constitutive elements of the depiction of Eastern European or Eastern European-looking spaces in recent video game productions. In doing so, his lecture sets out to uncover how the construction of virtual space is always also tied to questions of ideology and politics.


Dr. Gernot Howanitz is assistant professor at the University of Innsbruck’s Department of Slavic Studies. He works chiefly on the topics of Digital Humanities and New Media in Eastern Europe and co-founded the research group Game Studies at the University of Innsbruck. He further is a co-editor of the journal Digital Icons: Studies in Russian, Eurasian and Central European New Media. His first monograph was published in 2020 and bears the title “Leben weben. Autobiographische Praktiken russischer Autorinnen und Autoren im Internet”.

The public lecture will take place in seminar room -201 at the Alte Universität and will be held in English. Afterwards, there will be a chance for further conversation in the form of a small reception.

The event is co-organized by DPL-member Thomas Fritz Maier and generously co-funded by the Doktoratsprogramm Literaturwissenschaft as well as the Osteuropa-Forum Basel.

Export event as iCal