Video Games Can Help Teach History

Video games carry a major influence on pop culture globally. With technologically advanced consoles for the gamers, the entire gaming culture is being changed to a modern one. However, the video games themselves also create an impact over the gamers. Many believe that video games can help teach history.

In fact, many games today are actually helping users learn historical elements such as games on Kingdoms, Emperors, and Wars by providing a gaming experience as real as the past. Find out more about such games in the article below and see how video games can prove useful in teaching history.

Possibility of Teaching History from Video Games

There is a high chance that the teaching history from video games is made possible. There are different types of games which run on a dedicated story line such as GTA, Assassins Creed, and others. When creating a game with the intention to create history, the story line could be adjusted in accordance with the different types of historical facts and figures. In Fact, there are many games which are made with this principle. This shows that creating such games is possible.

Teaching history is also going to be possible because many researches have suggested that due to an immersive experience, the gamer has a better concentration on video games. Therefore, the increased attention and concentration spam shows that learning via video games is easy.

Games Based on History

There are many games that have been based on historical themes and here are few of the top ones.

The game “Valiant Hearts: The Great War” which was released in 2016 is an emotional journey-based game which shows the history of the Great World War. Valiant Hearts is supported by the narratives of four primary characters in the form of an African American soldier, a Belgian nurse, a German soldier, and a French Father in Law.

The game is said to be having fascinating historical moments such as transportation of soldiers, destroying Ypres, and other events as well. Additional information is provided to the gamers from the start menu so that they can learn more about the storyline. Many gamers have highlighted the fact that they were able to learn those facts and figures that did not catch their interest prior to the game.

Rome : Total War

Another game based on history is Rome : Total War which was released in 2004. This game took the players on a journey to undergo different types of strategic, managerial, and tactical levels as a part of administering Rome. This game broadly defined the historical elements such as provinces, cities, actual administration practices of Rome, and how the change is undertaken following an urban interest. It showed some of the most accurate battles which is why the game became so popular.

This game shows a period of 270 Before Christ Era after successful states of Alexander had a stalemate which created the chances for the First Punic War as well. However, the game also changes some of the aspects such as false unity among Greeks and Germans which was not actually there. Romans were divided into three factions which is also not proven anywhere in history. It showed some of the most accurate battles which is why the game became so popular.

Crusader Kings

Crusader Kings is a large budget game which is among the very few ones that have been considered to neatly present the history as well as historical facts and figures. It is a major strategy game that is set in Europe in the Middle Ages during the time period of December 1066, right after the day of coronation of William the Conqueror till December 1452. From the history, there were three major scenarios included in the game which includes the Battle of Hastings, The Third Crusade, and The Hundred Years War as well.

As a result, this game proves to be quite valuable in providing the right kind of historical knowledge. Critics approved of the game and said that the way it has high end graphics and illustrations towards the historical era, it really gives the players an actual glimpse of what had happened. The game won multiple awards such as Strategy Gaming Online Editor’s Choice award and Game Vortex Top Pick award. Following the success of Crusader Kings, there were several sequels for the game including Crusader Kings II.

Consistent Pattern of Video Games

One of the most important aspects is that video games comprise a similar pattern when focused on history. Most of the video games have been focused on war, battles, and violence while not highlighting the positive aspects that were seen in history. Some of the most famous games such as Warframe, Battlefield, Assassins Creed, Call of Duty, Civilization, Total War, and Bomber Crew are all based on warfare and fight.

As a result, many of them can be used to teach the military men regarding history and historical practices but teaching the other students would not be as feasible as it might not be relevant towards their subject. For example, there are barely any games of financial history and how the financial institutions worked in the past which shows that there is not much to video games and ancient history other than war and violence.

Kuran and Co’s Practice

In Turkey, a group under Mehmet SükrüKuran developed an undergraduate history course which incorporated learning through video games. The courses comprise three different ages which include Middle Ages, Great Schism in Christian World, and Shia-Sunni split of the Islamic world. It also included the modern age including the industrial revolution. Several games were first experimented with which include Sid Meier’s Civilization series by Firaxis games, the Total War series by the Creative Assembly and Grand Strategy games such as Crusader Kings II.

In each module, the students were provided with a basic learning and discussion which was then followed by an introduction to a game. Students were then supposed to play a game and achieve designated goals while also taking notes from the games. By the end of the module, students were given dedicated projects as well as asked to reflect on their experience while comparing this with other sources of history as well.

Based on the experiments and study, Kuran and Co listed down their findings which suggested that this form of teaching methodology had several advantages for the students. It gave the students a much better understanding of global geography because they were actually able to see and assess the geographical structures. It also provided better political and economic implications for the various kinds of military routes.

Experiencing the society in the past helped the students in learning how it was different as compared to societies today. Kuran and Co also concluded that the experiment was quite successful and provided better teaching methodology as compared to text-based learnings.

Problems in Video Games Teaching History

Video games may be helpful in teaching history but there might be a few problems involved as well. Firstly, the video games may not accurately depict history and there might be a few changes that could be made in the games. For example, in Rome : Total War, the unity among Greeks and Germans is shown which is not proven anywhere in history. Since games are not bound by any law to accurately describe history, developers can change and adjust the storyline of the game as required.

This also highlights the fact that there is a requirement for a dedicated gaming platform which helps in teaching history. Under this platform, all the games that are designed should be completely based on history and the simulations provided should be as accurate as possible. In addition to that, it is recommended to have those games which are not only focused on violence and warfare so that a range of other different types of subjects can also be taught.

In addition to that, video games might provide an interactive way of learning, but they might not exactly be considered as a mode of teaching. This is because there are very few players in the world who perceive the video games to be something that they could learn from. Players usually engage in a session of entertainment which is not bringing any form of learning to them. As a result, even if based on history, many video games might not be useful towards teaching the subject due to lack of interest of the player or a diverted interest of the player.


Based on the above-mentioned facts and figures, it is evident that the video games can be used to teach history. However, games that have misrepresented facts and figures could be a hindrance in this as many might have a different perspective. This aspect needs to be considered and improved accordingly. Teaching history through video games would be highly interactive and will spark a higher interest among the learner compared to a simple explanation of various theoretical aspects.