Assassin’s Creed 3, a historical action video game, allows gamers to experience the American Revolution through the eyes of a mercenary.
The game follows the tradition of not only its own predecessors but also a long list of history-based adventures in the digital realm. These settings come with a wealth of information and context as well as room for developers to interpret these events in various ways.
Another historical video game, “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” offers a very loose portrayal of the Cold War, an era of secrecy and federal obscurity that proves substantial when gamers uncover the story’s interpretations of crucial events like the Vietnam War.
Games in this genre can aid in learning. “Rise of Nations,” a historical real-time strategy game, steeps normal RTS conventions into the throes of ancient civilizations.
The game, while offering competitive gameplay and split-second decision-making, gives gamers a broad understanding of how elements of culture, such as geography, religion, advancements in technology, architecture and warfare affect the fate of a nation and its inhabitants.
In fact, one of the most recognized historical adventure video games was released in gaming’s infancy. “The Oregon Trail,” produced by the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium in 1974, is a text-based historical adventure that ambitiously detailed the hardships of pioneer life, including limited supplies, rampant diseases like dysentery and the death of followers.
Video games have always intrigued players by building entire worlds and creating unorthodox characters, but their knack for divulging history through an expressive lens can be even more enriching.
After all, there is no better way to understand the past than to actually experience it.