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


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