As most of us know the past three decades have seen an important evolution in video games and video gaming, taking them from a niche market and nerd culture oddity to an omnipresent form of mass media that has equaled and, in some cases, surpassed the film industry in popularity and global earnings. Many of the most popular games are set in historical eras, engage in historical narrative, or actively immerse players as historical figures. For many college-aged students, their first experience with history-based video games came through classroom experiences playing video games like "The Oregon Trail," a game based on the mass migration of thousands of Americans westward in the 1840s. First published in 1974 by the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (MECC), it is still being played today and its popularity led to many other historically driven video games such as "The Yukon Trail," "Freedom!" and later "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego." Anyone who has spent any time in a history classroom, and many who have not, will know that these games have had a lasting impact on students' historical understanding and have shaped their understanding of those historical eras.Read More
Welcome to the Center for History of Video Games and Critical Play's Blog. This space is dedicated to publishing work that encourages gamers, scholars and students to consider how video and other games offer unique ways of looking at history and history pedagogy, the interpretation of games, game play, and the impact of games on culture. In doing so we hope to create a space where we engage in an academic conversations that focus on representations of history and historical narrative in both World and American histories through a variety of video and tabletop games. The work here will investigate the assumptions that guide such representations of history and analyze the extent to which the medium of history-themed video games can bring new questions and perspectives to academic history and history education.