History & Gaming -Contextual Essay & Pitch

Before you read this blog, please watch my Pitch video located here. Thank you 😊

There is a lot of background research that comments on the historical accuracy of video games. This research guided my pitch and allowed me to refine the games I will be analysing.

The first source found here, comments on how Red dead redemption 2 featured women in its promotional videos despite being set in World War 2 whilst simultaneously noting that video games often dial down the historical accuracy in favour of a more interesting and player-driven story. This article prompted the idea that I should focus more on specific events that happen in a video game instead of a game. For example, I will focus on how accurate the portrayal of King Leonidas and the battle of Thermopylae was in Assassin Creed Odyssey, rather than the game. Not only would this save time, it would allow for more detailed research and comparison between the portrayal in the video game and the historical representation.

A large part of deciding which video games to analyse for this project was whether they claimed to be based on true events, or whether they were were just influenced by true events. This top 10 list led me to games such as Total War: Attilia & Pharaoh With The Cleopatra Expansion. Similar to the ideas presented above, these games were based on historically accurate events, unlike Assassin Creed which primary aim is user experience.

An interesting concept that comes out of this project is the influence these games have on the players perception of ancient history. When I discover differences in the real-word / gaming events, it may be worth further analysing which version the average gamer believes to be true. This idea is elaborated on in Gaming History: A Framework for What Video Games Teach About the Past, Metzger, S. and Paxton, R. (2016), where it is noted that video games are great motivators for extra-curricular activities, but problematic as educational texts. There are games that offer strictly educational, non player driven stories such as historia.

Thank you for reading, there’s so many interesting ideas that come from this project, leave a comment below to tell me what you think about it!

References

Gilbert, L. (2019). “Assassin’s Creed reminds us that history is human experience”: Students’ senses of empathy while playing a narrative video game. Theory & Research in Social Education, 47(1), pp.108-137.

Green, D. (2019). The 10 Best Educational Games Ever, Ranked. [online] Dorkly. Available at: http://www.dorkly.com/post/87115/educational-games-ranked [Accessed 15 Aug. 2019].

Histrionix Learning. (2019). Historia. [online] Available at: http://histrionix.com/historia/ [Accessed 15 Aug. 2019].

Impressions Games Wiki. (2019). Cleopatra: Queen of the Nile. [online] Available at: https://impressionsgames.fandom.com/wiki/Cleopatra:_Queen_of_the_Nile [Accessed 15 Aug. 2019].

Metzger, S. and Paxton, R. (2016). Gaming History: A Framework for What Video Games Teach About the Past. Theory & Research in Social Education, 44(4), pp.532-564.

Originals, T., News, G., News, S. and West, P. (2019). 10 Best Historically Accurate Video Games. [online] TheGamer. Available at: https://www.thegamer.com/historically-accurate-best-video-games/ [Accessed 14 Aug. 2019].

TheNationalStudent. (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.thenationalstudent.com/Gaming/2019-01-09/can_video_games_really_be_historically_accurate.html [Accessed 14 Aug. 2019].

Total War. (2019). Attila – Total War. [online] Available at: https://www.totalwar.com/games/attila/ [Accessed 15 Aug. 2019].

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