Critical Playing- HumLab Bytes Event

On Tuesday, Feb. 25, the first of the new HumLab Bytes events, titled “Critical Playing,” took place. The guest speaker, professor Ghislaine McDayter, presented a close analysis of the historical anecdotes found behind the games played during various periods, including ancient Europe, the Renaissance, and even the contemporary world. Professor McDayter discussed how the rules within these games mimicked the cultural values and social norms of the time, reflecting upon moral and social action and guidelines. Professor McDayter asked the audience to carefully analyze the ways in modern-day board games, such as Life and Monopoly, also reflect the modern concerns of social mobility. The event closed with a riveting discussion about the Digital Humanities (DH) project led by Professor McDayter, titled The Masquerade Project. The Masquerade Project presents a model of the cultural and social rules underpinning the participation of a masquerade ball in 18th century English society. The Masquerade Project is itself a kind of narrative-based video game in which players are presented with various scenarios, and based on their responses to each, the player either advances or loses the game. Themes of elegance, social order, and class all play an essential role in the game. The game incorporates a virtual innovation to allow players to be completely immersed in the game, hopefully leading players to “re-think the past.” To learn more about The Masquerade Project, please visit the project’s page on the DH@Bucknell website.

HumLab Bytes Events & COVID-19

Given the developing situation with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the subsequent physical closure of Bucknell University, the HumLab Bytes events for March and April 2020 have been cancelled. We hope to reschedule these events when the university resumes its usual operations. Thank you for your patience and understanding!

For more information about Bucknell University’s response to COVID-19, please visit the university’s official Coronavirus Updates page.

The Masquerade Project

This is an immersive role-playing game in which the player must take on an avatar and navigate through an eighteenth-century masquerade ball
in order to win suitors, or (if a libertine character) seduce virtuous women.

Principal Investigator

Ghislaine McDayter

Project Collaborators

Diane Jakacki (Bucknell University)
Emily Barlow (Bucknell University)
Anita Oncharoen (Bucknell University)
Lauren Ziolkowski (Bucknell University)

Project Status

Project Started: September 2017


  • Bucknell Mellon DH Grant