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Get Children Into History

Video games are sometimes criticised for pillaged historical cultural contexts as places to pitch their shooting battles. Many games do treat historic periods or military battles to embellish the visuals with a realism.

There are, however, all sorts of games that use history as more than window dressing. This might be something as simple as accurately creating period-appropriate weapons and uniforms, like in War Thunder or Enlisted. This might also be offering the player to experience battles not from the perspective of the victors. Or, like in This War of Mine, what is was like for those caught up in conflict as civilians.

Beyond warfare, games offer a wide array of accurate depictions of different civilisations and eras. Through the Darkest of Times is a strategy game that conveys the sombre mood of the dark period of history between January 1933 and May 1945. The Forgotten City is a mystery adventure set in the final days of a cursed Roman city. Treasures of the Aegean is a Tin Tin-style tomb raiding adventure game with a surprisingly accurate bronze age Aegean civilisation.

There are other games that introduce historical techniques and tools. In Heaven’s Vault you play an archaeologist translating an ancient alien language whose decrypting weaves through an unfolding drama. In Return of the Obra Dinn you revisit the moment of death of 60 sailors on an ancient ship and use evidence to piece together their identity and what happened.

Other game recreate a time periods' architecture and culture so you can explore it first hand. Discovery Tour is a special mode that uses the worlds created for the main Assassin’s Creed games to offer an historical exploration experience. Discovery Tour: Viking Age is set in Britain and Norway, around 870 AD. It sheds light on the Viking era and allows players to discover more about the history and traditions of the time. Raji: An Ancient Epic is a running and jumping puzzle game drawing on Hindu and Balinese history. Taking inspiration from tales like Mahabharata and Ramayana you play a young girl named Raji who is chosen by the gods to defend the human race.

There are even games that help players appreciate the scale of history and time. Deep Time Walk is a game where you go for a walk as you listen to a history of the earth that's tied to each step. The game calculates your speed and distance to match your real-world progress and translates it to a journey across 4.6bn years of time, taking in every key evolutionary event as they occur.

This list includes 35 games from the last 24 years, with 295 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to understand the past.


 

Assassin's Creed Discovery Tour

Release Date: 10/09/2018, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Discovery Tour is a special mode that uses the worlds created for the main Assassin’s Creed games to offer an educational exploration experience. It is available both as a free part of the original games and as a...

The Banner Saga (Series)

Release Date: 14/01/2014, updated in 2016

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

The Banner Saga is a beautiful fantasy adventure where your strategic choices directly affect your personal story and the world around you. You play as two characters, each with their own related story.

This War Of Mine

Release Date: 14/11/2014, updated in 2016

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and iOS

Inspired by the 1992–96 Siege of Sarajevo, this is a war game where you play the civilian trying to survive during the fighting. You face tough decisions on how to spend time and resources each day to maintain health, hunger and mood levels until a...

Valiant Hearts The Great War

Release Date: 25/06/2014, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Valiant Hearts is an adventure game set during World War I. You play four characters who help a young German soldier find his love in a story about survival, sacrifice and friendship. This is achieved by solving puzzles and interacting with various...

War Thunder

Release Date: 21/12/2016, updated in 2018

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

War Thunder is a shooting game where you drive a range of vehicles in warfare combat. Similar to Wargaming's World of Warplanes it creates realistic battles on air, land, and sea. The attraction of the combat is that each vehicle or craft’s...

Enlisted

Release Date: 10/11/2020, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Enlisted is an online shooting game set in historically accurate World War II battle. You play a squad of soldiers and can switch between them as you take on other players doing the same in large online battles. It's unusual not only for its historical...

Return of the Obra Dinn

Release Date: 18/10/2019

Platforms: PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

You play a shipping company agent assessing what happened on board a fictional East India Company ship where all the passengers have all mysteriously died. Exploring the ship, you can revisit the moment of death for each body in order to identify each...

Age of Empires IV (Series)

Release Date: 02/02/1998, updated in 2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS2 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Age of Empires is a strategy game where you command an ancient civilisation in real-time and must develop from hunter-gatherers to advanced forms of defence and war. This is similar territory to Civilization but focus on...

Bad North

Release Date: 31/10/2018, updated in 2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Bad North is a stylised strategy fighting game. You control an army defending an island and must train and develop your forces efficiently. The simple visuals and knife-edge Viking combat along with the jeopardy of losing precious troops make this a lot...

80 Days

Release Date: 31/07/2014, updated in 2019

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

80 Days is a travel and culture discovery game set in 1872, where decisions about your journey around the world impact the course of the story and characters. You play be deciding where to go next and talking to the people you meet to find the right...

Heaven's Vault

Release Date: 16/04/2019

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

In Heaven’s Vault you play an archaeologist translating an ancient alien language whose decrypting weaves through an unfolding drama. While doing real linguistic work you interact with companions and locals. Your choices can open or close vast swathes...

The Forgotten City

Release Date: 28/07/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

The Forgotten City is a mystery adventure. You explore and relive the final days of a cursed Roman city, where if one person sins, everyone dies. It starts as a bewildering array of characters, locations and information but over multiple goes your...

Through the Darkest of Times

Release Date: 27/05/2020, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Through the Darkest of Times is a strategy game that conveys the sombre mood of the dark period of history between January 1933 and May 1945. With interactive drama, it tells the story and the struggles of average people living in the 3rd Reich.

Raji: An Ancient Epic

Release Date: 15/10/2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Raji: An Ancient Epic is a running and jumping puzzle game drawing on Hindu and Balinese history. Taking inspiration from tales like Mahabharata and Ramayana you play a young girl named Raji who is chosen by the gods to defend the human race.

Foundation

Release Date: 01/02/2019, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Foundation is a city-building simulation game where you create networks of supply and consumption in a medieval village. You not only develop structures, gather resources and create your own unique settlement, but also manage the individual needs of...

Gerda: A Flame in Winter

Release Date: 01/09/2022

Platforms: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Gerda: A Flame in Winter is a narrative adventure game set in the small Danish village. Gerda's quiet life is turned upside down during the World War 2 occupation of her home. You choose where to go, how to act, and who to trust. It stands out for the...

South of the Circle

Release Date: 20/10/2020

Platforms: PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

South of the Circle is a narrative adventure game about, Peter, a Cambridge academic who finds himself fighting for survival in Antarctica during the 1960’s Cold War. You must cross desolate terrain to reach British, Norwegian and Soviet Antarctic...

Humankind

Release Date: 17/08/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Humankind is a strategy game where you develop a civilisation through the many ages of humanity's existence, from the nomadic tribes of ancient history to the space age. In many ways comparable to [link to game/Sid+Meiers+Civilization The Civilization...

Suzerain

Release Date: 04/12/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Suzerain is a role-play strategy game where you are the president of the fictional country, Sordland. By choosing conversations and life path you use your skills of persuasion and political values to reform your country after the downfall of a dictator.

Type:Rider

Release Date: 10/10/2013, updated in 2019

Platforms: Android, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch and iOS

Type: Rider is an adventure game where you play as the two dots of a colon as they roll and jump through levels made up of the letters and styles of different ages of typography. The level design showcases the fonts, techniques, artwork, people, and...

Over The Alps

Release Date: 31/03/2020

Platforms: PC and iPhone, iPad

Over The Alps is an adventure with intrigue and espionage set in 1939 Switzerland. Designed to look like retro photographs. The story unfolds as you select stamps to indicate how your character should approach interactions. Discover a secret history in...

The War to End All Wars (Dreams)

Release Date: 14/02/2021

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

The War to End All Wars is a point-and-click game set in a World War One battlefield visitor centre. However, as you interact with the exhibits you get taken back in time to live the experience through the eyes of a soldier. Unusually, it uses...

A Case of Distrust

Release Date: 08/02/2018

Platforms: PC, Switch and iOS

A Case of Distrust is a narrative game set in the roaring 20's where you play a hardboiled detective, Phyllis Cadence Malone, investigating a mystery full of deception and doubt. You help her struggle to overcome insecurities amidst pushback against...

Not Tonight (Series)

Release Date: 17/08/2018, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Not Tonight is a tongue-in-cheek role-play adventure where you challenge the political establishment in alternative versions of Post-Brexit Britain (in the first game) or capitalism-run-rampant America (in the sequel). You take on a time pressured...

Inua - A Story in Ice and Time

Release Date: 10/02/2022

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Inua A Story in Ice and Time is a narrative-driven role-playing game where you switch between 3 different time periods, alter people's memories and thoughts, and change both the past and the future. In the far Canadian north, you meet three groups of...

Pharaoh

Release Date: 01/01/1999, updated in 2016

Platforms: PC

Pharaoh (and expansion pack Cleopatra: Queen of the Nile) took the Caesar real-time strategy games to Ancient Egypt. It's a strategy game where you make decisions about a particular city and scenario. The combination of planning and real historical...

Treasures of the Aegean

Release Date: 11/11/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Treasures of the Aegean is a Tin Tin-style tomb raiding adventure game. You are Marie Taylor and unveil the secrets of a forgotten kingdom trapped in an endless time loop. To do this, in 15 minute runs you explore a hand-drawn world to recover valuable...

Card Shark

Release Date: 02/06/2022

Platforms: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Pieces: Cards

Card Shark is an adventure game about a French 18th century con artist. With your partner, you go from location to location swindling politicians and royals with the devious card cheat mini-games you learn. It looks like a card game, but actually it's a...

Deep Time Walk

Release Date: 09/12/2016

Platforms: Android and iOS

Deep Time Walk is a game where you go for a walk as you listen to a history of the Earth that's tied to each step. The game calculates your speed and distance to match your real-world progress and translates it to a journey across 4.6bn years of time,...

Svoboda 1945: Liberation

Release Date: 03/08/2021, updated in 2022

Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Svoboda 1945: Liberation is a narrative game that uses footage of real actors to tell an interweaving story about the aftermath of the Second World War. As you talk to the villagers, explore locations untouched for years and complete puzzles, you...

The Legend of Tianding

Release Date: 01/11/2021

Platforms: Switch

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

The Legend of Tianding is a running, jumping and fighting game where you play a fugitive vigilante in Taipei city. It stands out for its unusual cultural setting, comic book storytelling and fast combat action. Based on real events, real people and real...

11-11 Memories Retold

Release Date: 08/11/2018

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

11-11 Memories Retold is a narrative adventure about two young men caught up in the first world war. A young photographer who joins the western front in Europe to impress a woman, and a German technician who's signs up in search of his son who is...

Blackhaven

Release Date: 27/07/2021

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Blackhaven is a narrative adventure where you play a college intern at Blackhaven Hall, a historic mansion burned down during the American Revolution. Play involves exploring the building and discovering a trail of secrets and misdeeds that span centuries.

Inkulinati

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Inkulinati is a strategy game where you fight an opponent using medieval drawings. Using a range of weapons, attacks, defences and abilities, you move your characters, based on real medieval drawings, around the page to defeat enemies as a story about...

Railway Empire

Release Date: 26/01/2018, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Railway Empire is a train business management simulator where you construct a railway system to connect cities of early America and turn a profit. You place tracks and stations to link rural businesses with cities for supply, processing and distribution...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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