Heritage Destruction and Videogames: Ethical Challenges of the Representation of Cultural Heritage

José Antonio González Zarandona, Adam Chapman, Darshana Jayemanne


Representations of historical or cultural sites in videogames have always been contested by videogames scholarship, arguing that historical games often court controversy. This paper examines the history of the National and University Library in Sarajevo, particularly the destruction of the site and how it has been represented with different meanings across various media. The second part of the paper will analyze the representation of the
library (post-reconstruction) in the videogame, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2’s Act 2 (called ‘Ghost of Sarajevo’), in order to raise issues about the ethical challenges of the representation of a heritage site that has not only been destroyed and reconstructed, but that it is part of a national heritage.The analysis shows that there are important pressures derived from the ways in which videogames represent heritage which has gone through a process of destruction, and how videogames adapt a historical event following formal videogame conventions. The paper concludes by pointing out the benefits of studying cases such as the National and University Library in Sarajevo, as well as new avenues of research regarding the representation of contested cultural sites in videogames.


Cultural heritage, history, epistemology, heritage destruction, representation in videogames

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.26503/todigra.v4i2.93
Published by the Digital Games Research Association.