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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 23 games from the last 24 years, with 172 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to understand the past.


 

War Thunder

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

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

Price: Free

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

Genres: Open World, Shooting, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: Gaijin Ent (@GaijinEnt)

Players: You can play this with 16 players online

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...

Return of the Obra Dinn

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Release Date: 18/10/2019

Platforms: PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Dukope (@Dukope)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Enlisted

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 14-18 year-olds

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

Price: Free

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

Genres: Action, Open World and Shooting

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: Enlisted Game (@EnlistedGame)

Players: You can play this with 50 players online

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...

Bad North

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 10-16 year-olds

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

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

Genres: Action, Fighting, Puzzle, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Raw Fury (@RawFury)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Through the Darkest of Times

Content Rating: PEGI 16

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

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

Genres: Narrative, Role-Playing and Simulation

Accessibility: 15 features

Developer: Paintbucket de (@Paintbucket_de)

Players: This is a single player game

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.

Age of Empires (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

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

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS2 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Open World, Point-and-Click and Strategy

Developer: Relic Games (@RelicGames)

Players: You can play this with 8 players online

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...

Heaven's Vault

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 16/04/2019

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Point-and-Click and Puzzle

Accessibility: 19 features

Developer: Inkle Studios (@InkleStudios)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Raji: An Ancient Epic

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 15/10/2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: Raji The Game (@RajiTheGame)

Players: This is a single player game

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.

Valiant Hearts The Great War

Content Rating: PEGI 12

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

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

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Platform, Puzzle and Stealth

Developer: Ubisoft (@Ubisoft)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

80 Days

Content Rating: PEGI 3

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

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

Genres: Adventure and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 11 features

Developer: Inkle Studios (@InkleStudios)

Players: This is a single player game

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.

South of the Circle

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 20/10/2020

Platforms: iPhone, iPad

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Accessibility: 20 features

Developer: State of Play (@State_of_Play)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

The Forgotten City

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Release Date: 28/07/2021

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: Mod N Story Teller (@ModNStoryTeller)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Gerda: A Flame in Winter

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Narrative and Role-Playing

Developer: Porta Play (@PortaPlay)

Players: This is a single player game

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.

Suzerain

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 04/12/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Role-Playing, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 25 features

Developer: Torpor Games (@TorporGames)

Players: This is a single player game

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.

This War Of Mine

Content Rating: PEGI 18

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

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

Genres: Narrative, Role-Playing, Shooting, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: 11 Bit Studios (@11BitStudios)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Assassin's Creed Discovery Tour

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 9-13 year-olds

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

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Simulation and Stealth

Accessibility: 24 features

Developer: Ubisoft (@Ubisoft)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Over The Alps

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 31/03/2020

Platforms: PC and iPhone, iPad

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Puzzle and Turn-Based

Developer: Stave Studios (@StaveStudios)

Players: This is a single player game

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 Banner Saga (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 16

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

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

Genres: Action, Fighting, Narrative and Strategy

Developer: Stoic Studio (@StoicStudio)

Players: This is a single player game

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.

Deep Time Walk

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 09/12/2016

Price: Free

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Open World and Physically Active

Developer: Deep Time Walk (@DeepTimeWalk)

Players: This is a single player game

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,...

Inua - A Story in Ice and Time

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Narrative, Point-and-Click, Puzzle and Role-Playing

Accessibility: 14 features

Developer: The Pixel Hunt (@ThePixelHunt)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Treasures of the Aegean

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 11/11/2021

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

Genres: Action, Adventure, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 17 features

Developer: Undercoders (@Undercoders)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Not Tonight (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

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

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Puzzle and Role-Playing

Developer: Panic Barn (@PanicBarn)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

The Legend of Tianding

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Release Date: 01/11/2021

Platforms: Switch

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative and Point-and-Click

Developer: Liau Thiam Ting (@LiauThiamTing)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

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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