Signifying the West: Colonialist Design in Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs


  • Beth A. Dillon Simon Fraser University



"Forward," the highlighted Tomahawk and Rider units respond as they move across the mapped territory of a hill to a treasure guarded by two bears they must now kill. The WarChiefs, an expansion of the Age of Empires III Real Time Strategy (RTS) game for the PC, uses both Western and Native representations in game mechanics, sound, image, text, and narrative. This paper compares Indigenous and Western perspectives of interactivity, narrative, and space and time in a close reading of single-player campaign Fire and Shadow. In doing so, this paper asks: How does The WarChiefs, and thus the RTS genre, signify colonialist design aesthetic?

Author Biography

Beth A. Dillon, Simon Fraser University

Beth A. Dillon is an Irish, Anishinaabe, and Metis writer specializing in video games. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University to facilitate game development projects for indigenous cultural sovereignty. Her overarching efforts address indigenous representations in commercial games and development of games with indigenous content.




How to Cite

Dillon, B. A. (2008) “Signifying the West: Colonialist Design in Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs”, Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture, 2(1), pp. 129–144. doi: 10.7557/23.5975.