Tuesday, April 16, 2019

HIST494: History through Gaming

This past semester, I have been experimenting with a course that combines computer/video games with history. Students have played an array of historically-themed games from the popular Assassin's Creed series to strategy games like Civilization 5. Students have written blog posts about the course games, researched and presented on unassigned games, and are developing their own hypothetical "dream" historically-themed game by doing historical research and incorporating game design and mechanics. As a class, we constantly seek elements of game-play that are factual and educational, as well as questioning when developers go beyond the realm of history into fiction. For more information about the course and links to student blog posts see the course website: https://spitt9.wixsite.com/historythroughgaming).

Joe Gardner presenting on Call of Duty 3,
which focuses on the Invasion of Normand.
The class has also benefited greatly from St. Bonaventure University's new eSports Club, the officers of which generously invited us to use their gaming room. Without this offer, teaching games like Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, Battlefield I, and Call of Duty: WWII, would have been impossible.
Joe Gardner, Connor O'Keefe, and Brendan Fischer playing Battlefield I, which follows the stories of WWI soldiers across Europe. Those chairs in the eSport Club gaming room are amazing.    
History through Gaming students playing Battlefield V, which takes place during WWII. Battlefield V has had its share of
controversy over historical accuracy and including women in combat roles. 
Logan presented on Oregon Trail, one of the first historically-themed games used to teach history. He even played through the game although the pace at which he played ensured that everyone rapidly died. 
Luke presented on Assassin's Creed: Origins, which takes place during the Ptolemy Dynasty in Egypt. This game has a tourist mode where players can visit sites in Egypt and learn about them.  
Noah presented on his favorite subject, Ancient Rome, with the game Ryse: Son of Rome


Saturday, April 13, 2019

History Club Trips 2018-2019

This past academic year, History Club had a blast visiting Old Fort Niagara, the Buffalo Zoo, and the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site.

Our first trip in November 2018 took us to Old Fort Niagara where we learned about the French construction of the fort in the late seventeenth century and the imperial contests that eventually led to the British conquest during the French and Indian War in 1759. Jacob Keenan served as an excellent tour guide, sharing his inside knowledge about the fort and life as a soldier in colonial America.
This is an excellent view overlooking Lake Ontario. You can
see the CN Tower in Toronto from this vantage point.
From Left to Right: Jessica, Oscar, Andrew, Christian, and Jacob.  
The main fort where French, British, and American soldiers lived,
traded with Native Americans, and served as the last line of defense. 
These revolutionaries are about to take up arms against the
tyrannical British or perhaps join the cast of
Hamilton: An American Musical
Jacob demonstrates the finer points of how to properly
hold a musket and march to the rabble above.

This tiger was quite friendly. 
History Club with Theodore Roosevelt.
From Left to Right: Andrew, Will, Oscar, Ashley, Tori, and Nick
Our second adventure took us back to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when zoos and world's fairs became popularized in Europe and the United States. First, we went the Buffalo Zoo. Built in 1875, the Buffalo Zoo is the third oldest in the United States. Students enjoyed seeing the lions, tigers, and bears but Ashley's passion for turtles became a group quest to find the shy reptiles. After a fantastic lunch at a Mexican restaurant, we went to the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site where Theodore Roosevelt was sworn into office after the assassination of President William McKinley at Buffalo's Pan-American Exposition in 1901. We learned a great deal about McKinley's assassination and Roosevelt's swearing in, including the story of Roosevelt's harrowing trip from the Adirondack's, where he was in the midst of climbing Mt. Marcy when he learned of McKinley's dire situation, to Buffalo.

Will found great satisfaction in exploiting his
workers to become a "Captain of Industry"
like the great steel baron Andrew Carnegie 

Will added a little fist-pump action for good measure.  
Checking out the seals at the Buffalo Zoo 
Watch out for that Rhinoceros horn, Tori! 

Friday, April 12, 2019

World Cinema

Professor Dalton is offering World Cinema next semester as a special topics course.  This will be an interesting look at films beyond Hollywood.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

European Military History

Dr. Henning is offering a new European military history course in the fall.  Check it out.  It is listed as a special topics course.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Culture Wars presentation by Dr. Roth

Dr. Andrew Roth spoke yesterday to a group of mostly students on America's story and the culture wars.  Dr. Roth is the former interim president of SBU and president-emeritus of Notre Dame College.  He is currently at the Jefferson Educational Society in Erie, PA.