In this paper, we propose Agonistic Games (AGs) as a serious games subcategory that can stimulate critical reflection on
topics of dark heritage through multiperspectivity and unsettling play. We first discuss the emerging topic of agonism in
memory studies, and then how games can be used to support its objectives. We then discuss the development of 2 original
AGs: Endless Blitz and Umschlagplatz ’43.We explore whether these two AGs were perceived as capable of stimulating critical
reflection by collecting data from visitors to the exhibition ‘Krieg. Macht. Sinn’ at the Ruhr Museum in Germany where the
games were installed, and from participants in an online course describing the games. From analysing data collected, we
outline four factors inhibiting the capacity of AGs to stimulate critical reflection (topic, context, design, and assumptions
about games) and propose strategies for overcoming these inhibitors. Our findings are valuable to scholars, game researchers,
and designers, strengthening the foundations for the design and development of future AGs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number15
JournalACM Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage (JOCCH)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2021


  • agonistic games
  • serious games
  • critical reflection
  • memory studies
  • agonism
  • museum games
  • multiperspectivity
  • dark heritage


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