Using video games to teach world history


We have already done a detailed post on fun activities to learn and develop interest in history, especially if your kid sleeps off during history lessons.

Look, history is important. It teaches you how civilizations worked, how societies were formed, how the norms were made, reasons behind wars etc.

In short, it allows you to understand why the world is what it is today.

If you stick to textbooks and monologue lessons, children will never be able to understand the fine lines between the text.

Your aim should be to equip kids to analyze history, look at it from various point of views and judge it on their own understanding.

Just because I tell them Germany was cruel during the WW2, they should not accept it.

The ability to think analytically may sound far fetched to many, but trust me, with games (especially, video games) children learn and understand history better.

Let’s look at a few games that you should let your kids play.

1. Hearts of Iron 4

Hearts of Iron 4 deals with the World War 2 period and allows you to play as any nation that was involved in the war.

You are supposed to select a faction – allied, axis or comintern (communist). This game teaches you about the important technologies, army units (for example, infantry types, tanks, armored vehicles, various air units and naval units) and social ideas that developed during that time.

2. Call of Duty: WW2

This game perfectly depicts the horrors of world war 2 and you will gain a lot of knowledge about weapons, events of the war, psychological impact and the reality of fighting for life for months at end.

3. Rome total wars

The game is set during the Roman republic and early Roman empire (approx. 270 BC – AD 14). The players assume control of any one of the three Roman families initially and the other factions are open once they are unlocked.

Rome Total Wars is a real time strategy based game where players manage diplomacy, develop infrastructure, move armies and manage public order. Players also command battles against armies or between cities that take into account morale, troop energy, weather, terrain and various other strategies.

4. Europa Universalis 4

This is one the biggest strategy games out there today. You can play as any nation you want on the map.

Europa Universalis 4 allows you to play from the 15th century to the beginning of the 19th century. It not only features technological developments, policies, dealing with politics but also arrange marriages between monarchs, different mechanisms from tribes such as Golden Horde faction, being the emperor or member of the Holy Roman Empire and also Native American nation mechanics with there being different Native American mechanics for different Native American tribe groups.

5. Crusader Kings 2

Crusader Kings 2 is an extremely different game that is set in the Middle Ages. It involves strategy and role-playing. The game does not deal with holding territories but to grow your dynasty through strategically arranged marriages, having children and progressing characters.

At all times, you are playing as the head of the dynasty and once they die, you play as the second in line.

This game does an excellent job in providing detailed insights on how dynasties and societies worked at that time.

6. Victoria 2

This game focuses on internal management and covers social/political changes along with industrialization and 8 different government types.

While the focus of maximum Paradox games are on war, this game give a lot of importance to the politics and economics of the country by having market with over 50 types of goods and factories.

Victoria 2, as the name suggests, is set in the Victorian era which was also the time of new ideologies like communism and fascism.

7. Civilization

The objective of Civilization is to build an empire that stands the test of time. It begins in the era 4000 BC and the player has to make attempts to expand and develop empires in the ancient era until the modern times.

There you go.

These games will not only develop interest in history, but also push them to think analytically about what happened in those eras.

So, are you ready to let your children play these video games? Are you already utilizing the potential of video games in learning history or are you skeptical about this entire idea?

Comment below and let us know.


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