The preservation of Indigenous Australian cultural heritage (CH) is a challenge acknowledged by communities, scholars, and policymakers. Research indicates video games are strong tools for heritage, but existing culture-oriented serious games are unsuccessful as cultural worlds. Commercial open-world role-playing games (RPGs) like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) immerse players in complex virtual worlds populated by fictional societies and cultures. The engagement of commercial game players in informal learning and production in the context of online passionate affinity spaces (PAS) indicates players become invested in the cultural content depicted in games. While commercial RPGs do not typically transmit real cultural heritage, culture-oriented serious games can be enhanced by importing features from commercial RPGs. This thesis poses the question: how can open-world RPGs like Skyrim contribute to the transmission of Aboriginal heritage? The thesis concludes RPG virtual worlds can immerse players in a new culture within a unified environmental, social and cultural context, making them holistic frameworks appropriate for the depiction of indigenous culture.

Year Manuscript Completed



Indigenous Studies | Science and Technology Studies | Social and Cultural Anthropology


virtual heritage; cultural heritage; Aboriginal culture; indigenous culture; role-playing games; world-building; game fandom; passionate affinity spaces; participatory culture; The Elder Scrolls; Skyrim.

Primary Language of Manuscript


01Front.pdf (832 kB)
Appendices.pdf (5477 kB)