Learning about history can be a challenging task for many students, but video games have the potential to make it a more engaging and interactive experience. In this post, we will introduce you to six games that provide unique perspectives on historical events, cultures, and societies. From the ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica to World War II to the 2010s, these games offer students a way to deepen their understanding of the past!
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Attentat 1942 is a historical video game that tells the story of the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia during World War II from the perspective of eyewitnesses. The game follows the player’s journey to uncover the truth about their grandfather’s arrest by the Gestapo after the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, a Nazi leader. The game features dialogues with survivors, interactive comics, authentic historical footage, and challenging mini-games. It is based on historical research and testimonies and aims to provide a unique and authentic perspective on the events of the time. You can buy Attentat 1942 on Steam, the Nintendo eShop, the App Store, and Google Play store. Please note that this game is rated T and may not be suitable for young learners.
Pharaoh: A New Era is a city-building game set in Ancient Egypt, which is a complete remake of the original game, Pharaoh, and its expansion Cleopatra: Queen of the Nile. Players must build and manage their city, cultivate land along the Nile valley, erect iconic monuments, and build temples and mausoleums to manage all aspects of their city’s health and culture. The game includes over 50 playable missions and over 100 hours of gameplay and can be purchased on Steam.
Liyla and the Shadows of War is a minimalist, story-driven platformer based on actual events, where players guide a family through the hazardous Gaza strip during the war in 2014. The game challenges players to avoid bombs, drones, and other dangers while solving puzzles, responding to changes in the environment and making brave, difficult decisions in order to survive. Players experience war from the perspective of a civilian and witness the devastating effects of war on children, emphasizing that in a war zone, choices become harder and all you can do is try to get to a safer place. Please note that this game contains sensitive material and may not be suitable for students of all ages. You can download the game from the Google Play store.
The Descent of the Serpent is a platform video game that takes players on an immersive journey through the ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica. Created in partnership with Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology, the game challenges players to retrieve 20 lost objects representing the 20 symbols on the inner circle of the Aztec Sun Stone and return them to Chichen Itza before the solar equinox. As players explore a multi-level maze of jungles, mountains, coasts, and caves, they learn about ancient Mesoamerican cultures’ fascinating mythology, impressive architecture, and daily life. The game is suitable for players of all ages and can be played in a web browser or on the Google Arts & Culture app for iOS and Android.
Through the Darkest of Times is a strategy game where players lead a resistance group in Berlin during the Nazi regime. Set in different periods of the Third Reich, players plan and execute actions to win supporters, weaken the regime, and avoid getting caught by the Gestapo. The game features turn-based gameplay, where every turn represents one week, and chapters covering specific periods of Nazi Germany. Players must balance morale, gather resources, and make decisions to survive and succeed in the face of the Nazi regime. You can play this game on Steam, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, Xbox, and PS4. Please note that this game has the following mature content description from the developers: “This game may contain content not appropriate for all ages. Some scenes feature disturbing content in the form of narrative text or imagery and a sensitive general theme.”
Father and Son is an adventure game that takes players on a journey through Naples, Pompeii, and Ancient Egypt, spanning different historical periods. The game follows the story of a son who never knew his father and becomes a universal and ageless tale, with the present and the past making up the setting for Michael’s travels. Players will seek out the beauties of Naples, experience the last hours of life in Pompeii before Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, and explore the ordinary day-to-day life in Ancient Egypt. The game features an original soundtrack created by renowned Polish musician Arkadiusz Reikowski and is the first game published by an archaeological museum: Museo archeologico nazionale di Napoli.
Video games can provide a powerful way to teach world history, offering unique perspectives and opportunities for interactive learning. Games like Pharaoh: A New Era and Father and Son provide a glimpse into ancient civilizations and cultures, while games like Liyla and the Shadows of War and Attentat 1942 provide a poignant view of the effects of war on civilians. Overall, these six games are valuable for educators and learners alike, showcasing the potential of video games as a powerful educational tool.
Interested in making your own learning game about a historical event or time period? We’re an educational game developer with 18 years of experience working with clients like iCivics, Annenberg Classroom, and others. Contact us today!
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