Ewch i’r prif gynnwys
Esther Wright  BA, MA, PhD, FHEA FRHistS

Dr Esther Wright BA, MA, PhD, FHEA FRHistS

Darlithydd mewn Hanes Digidol

Ysgol Hanes, Archaeoleg a Chrefydd

+44 29208 74742
Adeilad John Percival , Ystafell 4.57, Rhodfa Colum, Caerdydd, CF10 3EU
Ar gael fel goruchwyliwr ôl-raddedig


My work is situated within the field of Historical Game Studies, and to me, Digital History fundamentally requires that we critically examine how digital representations of the past found in popular visual media have the potential to shape public understandings of history. My monograph, "Rockstar Games and American History: Promotional Materials and the Construction of Authenticity", was published by De Gruyter in 2022, as part of the Video Games and the Humanities series. Based on my PhD thesis (awarded by the University of Warwick in August 2019), the book is the first substantive study of Rockstar Games as a game developer with a long-established project of negotiating and representing U.S. History in their games – in particular, focussing on Red Dead Redemption (2010), Red Dead Redemption 2 (2018), and L.A. Noire (2011).

My work argues for the importance of studying promotional materials, developer branding strategies, and other kinds of paratextual materials associated with the development and release of historical digital games. These materials are important digital sites and spaces through which game developers, like Rockstar, perform the role of historian and manage expectations for "historical authenticity" among players and critics. I use promotional materials to offer more nuanced interpretations of the influence of dominant understandings of U.S. History on game development and marketing decisions. These hegemonies, established by and through the conventions of pre-existing cultural "genres" like the Western and film noir, and popular narratives long-centred on the white and male experience, lead to games that exclude and marginalise other people and identities, and promotional practices that reaffirm exclusionary stories about America’s “real” past.

I have also co-edited (with Professor John Wills, University of Kent) a collection of essays on the Red Dead franchise: Red Dead Redemption: History, Myth and Violence in the Video Game West. The collection is forthcoming from Oklahoma University Press (March 2023).

I am co-convenor (with Nick Webber, Iain Donald, and Adam Chapman) of the Historical Games Network, a space for collaboration between academics, museum and heritage profesionals and game makers.

I am also interested in conversations around the use of born-digital sources for historical study, and their inherently ephemeral nature. I am interested in asking questions about how best to future-proof preservation practices to ensure we are able to account for and study a broad range of materials important to the history of digital games for years to come. My next research project, therefore, is intended as a broader methodological and practical consideration of how we can centre sources that have long been confined to the margins of (historical) game studies, and recognise their importance in our understandings of how digital games represent the past and function as a form of history.








Book sections



Research Interests: 

  • Digital Historical Games
  • Rockstar Games
  • Digital game promotion & branding
  • Digital sources & preservation
  • U.S. History in popular media
  • Gender History

Public Engagement:


Cynullydd Modiwl: 

  • HS6202 Gwneud Hanes: Haneswyr, Tystiolaeth, Cynulleidfaoedd
  • HS6213: Pastau Hygyrch
  • HS0002: Taflu'r Gorffennol: Cyfryngau a Threftadaeth Boblogaidd

Rwyf hefyd yn dysgu ar y modiwlau Hanes canlynol:


  • HS1120: Hanes mewn Ymarfer Rhan 2: Ffynonellau, Tystiolaeth a Dadl
  • HS6202: Hanes Darllen
  • HS6203: Hanes Trafod
  • HS1801: Traethawd Hir 

Ôl-raddedig a Addysgir: 

  • HST081: Ffynonellau a Thystiolaeth: Sgiliau Ymchwil Hanesyddol Uwch
  • HST082: Gofod, Lle ac Ymchwil Hanesyddol: O Micro-Histories i'r Tro Byd-eang
  • HST083: Diwinyddion, Dulliau ac Arferion Hanes
  • HST077: Rhyw, Pŵer a Diwylliant


Hydref 2015- Awst 2019: Ph.D. Adran Hanes, Prifysgol Warwick ("Gemau Rockstar a Hanes America"). Ariannwyd gan Ganolfan Rhagoriaeth Ymchwil Ddoethurol y Celfyddydau (CADRE), Prifysgol Warwick.

Hydref 2013-Medi 2014: MA Hanes Adran Hanes, Prifysgol Abertawe Ariennir gan ESF Mynediad i Feistr Ysgoloriaeth (mewn partneriaeth â Gardd Fotaneg Genedlaethol Cymru).

2010-2013: BA Hanes Adran Hanes, Prifysgol Abertawe

Anrhydeddau a dyfarniadau

  • Honourable Mention – British Association for Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS) 2019 award for "Best Doctoral Student Article or Chapter" (for "Marketing Authenticity: Rockstar Games and the Use of Cinema in Video Game Promotion")

Aelodaethau proffesiynol

Fellow, Royal Historical Society (2022-)

Early Career Member, Royal Historical Society (2020-2022)

Fellow, Higher Education Academy (2022-)

Safleoedd academaidd blaenorol

August 2020- Lecturer in Digital History, School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University

January 2020 - July 2020 Visiting Lecturer, Department of Media Arts, Royal Holloway University of London

2019 - 2020 Early Career Fellow, Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick

2018 - 2019 Associate Tutor, Department of History, University of Warwick

Pwyllgorau ac adolygu


  • Conference Organiser: The Present and Future of History and Games. 28 February 2020. University of Warwick. Funded by the Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick.
  • Monograph proposal reviewer: Routledge (Media, Cultural and Communication Studies); Bloomsbury.
  • Conference Abstract Reviewer: History and Games Conference 2020
  • Advisory Board: Video Games and the Humanities series, De Gruyter.


  • Conference Organisational Committee: Gaming the Gothic, 13th April 2018 at the University of Sheffield. Sponsored by the White Rose College of Arts and Humanities.


  • Conference Organiser (With Hannah Graves, University of Warwick): Hardboiled History: A Noir Lens on America's Past, May 19th 2017. Sponsored by Warwick History, the Warwick Humanities Research Centre, and the British Association for American Studies (BAAS).

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