We get to play games for class?!?!

I pretend that I don’t like to play games but let’s be honest who doesn’t like to mindlessly play games from time to time?


Sometimes games are a good way to “trick” people into learning without them knowing that it’s educational (like brownies made out of veggies *Insert Gag*). Some games are obviously more fun than others though.

eyeWhen I played Jamestown Adventure I wasn’t very impressed. You get to make decisions in order to support your colony. The information is interesting to me, but to a 10 years old who doesn’t like history…I’m not sure. There isn’t really a fun interactive aspect to the game.

The second game I picked to play was Argument Wars. I really liked this game. There was ahappy-childrens-day-cute-girl-graphic visible point system, there was a good guy/bad guy, and fun interactions between the two. I think this game gives information on court cases in a way that makes it interesting and fun to find links between the arguments happening within the case. I’m obviously not a preteen, but I think that this game would be more successful in getting a younger crowd to engage with digital history.

While playing the games I kept thinking back to Jeremy Antley’s article “Games and Historical Narratives.” In his article he writes, “Games can be platforms for building, and not simply consuming, knowledge.” I love this idea! I think that history is sometimes seen as boring by non-historians because people think that history can only be told one way. It can be malleable or changed depending on different sources, artifacts, theories, and by using games (and Jeremy’s quote) a historian can show an audience how their decisions in what to include or not to include can impact the way that history is told.

Published by


I am a graduate student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette studying Public History.

5 thoughts on “We get to play games for class?!?!”

  1. That’s a really good take on it Abbie! Historical games are more for building on knowledge than actually teaching it. However academic scholars do not see it that way and think these games ARE trying to replace textual learning of history. In the article “Going Beyond the Textual in History” also by Antley he discusses this. My favorite quote from the article, “When you read a journal article, you are passively absorbing knowledge. When you play a game, you are actively absorbing knowledge. The authors argument presented above seeks to appropriate player activity and channel it into passive knowledge absorption.,” sums up what’s happening very well in my opinion.


      1. One would think that wouldn’t they? However there seems to be the view that, especially in simulation games, games are teaching the history and are teaching it wrong as they do not show the “whole truth” and give sources to check it. This is more directed to audiences that are not playing the game under the directions of a class, but on their own time. (This will be discussed in our presentation today.) But honestly, I’m not going to read documents to play a game so I can win faster. I’d totally just muddle through it (and skip directions too).


  2. I like your comparisons between 10 year old you, and you today as a woman who believes games can be a way to trick the user into learning. If you were a video game creator, how would you trick your audience in learning historical content through games?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s