Ted2018: Mikhail Zygar: What the Russian revolution would have looked like on social media?

I was recently asked to think of ideas for a video game. Project1917 has potential. I like the way the history of the revolution unfolds, with contemporary comment and breaking news, organised into a Twitter style timeline. It is an interesting way to understand the history of the revolution. It also has the potential to explore alternative histories. What happens when you change something? There is the potential to end up with a vast array of alternate histories. It makes me think of Len Dayton’s SS-GB, postulating a United Kingdom occupied by Germany during World War II. Or Alan Moore’s comic book Watchmen, speculating an alternative history emerging from the discovery of superheroes in the 1940s. Their presence allows the United States to win the Vietnam War, changing the political landscape of the United States. The thing that is interesting about both these examples is the way they use changed historical events to fuel a drama. There is something to be explored in taking real historical events, adding or subtracting an element, and dramatising the outcome.

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