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History In Video Games — a Closer Look 139

Posted by Soulskill
from the begins-and-ends-in-the-1940s dept.
scruffybr writes "Whether it's World War 2, the American Wild West or ancient Greece, history has long provided a rich source of video game narrative. Historical fact has been painstakingly preserved in some games, yet distorted beyond all recognition in others. Whereas one game may be praised for its depiction of history, others have been lambasted for opening fresh wounds or glorifying tragic events of our near past. Games have utilized historical narrative extensively, but to what extent does the platform take liberties with, and perhaps misuse it?"
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History In Video Games — a Closer Look

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  • by Umuri (897961) on Friday October 23, 2009 @02:50AM (#29843311)

    For example, if you are a nazi, then you probably think 90% of video games are horrible, slanderous, libelous, and a gross distortion of history.

    If you're not, you probably find them fun.

  • Where is the news? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mseeger (40923) on Friday October 23, 2009 @02:52AM (#29843315)
    The same thing has happened in the movies. Often historical events were only used as distorted background. And movies are as games made for entertainment purposes. So what counts is entertainment value not historical accuracy.

    CU, Martin
    • by zwei2stein (782480) on Friday October 23, 2009 @03:39AM (#29843459) Homepage

      People tend to actually take these things as fairly accurate depictions of what it really was like. Its just another one for nation of dum'.

      Hell, even evening news are made with 'It does not have to be real, just entertaining' motto.

      (And I shudder what future archaeologists with do with our pop culture as source material ... any history geek will tell you how average Joes understanding of history nowadays was pretty fucked up Shakespeare & co.).

      I'd consider entertainment value quite awesome, but then you end up with people who have no idea about past, or are comfortable about fact that 'history' can be 'adjusted' to fit better whatever you agenda is. And that is worrying, even if it is just for entertainment.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Hognoxious (631665)

        People tend to actually take these things as fairly accurate depictions of what it really was like. Its just another one for nation of dum'.

        I think the worst case is when it's nearly accurate, plausible but wrong. In that case it might be better to fictionalise the names. Say it's a game where the battle of Hastings goes the other way, call them Anglics and Nordhommes. If the tactics and weapons were accurate, I'd say it was still realistic even if it is counterfactual.

        And I shudder what future archaeolo

      • by feepness (543479)

        (And I shudder what future archaeologists with do with our pop culture as source material .

        Or your post. Your post is barely readable.

      • People tend to actually take these things as fairly accurate depictions of what it really was like.

        What you say! You mean, USA didn't single-handedly win WW2 by sending Rambo to assassinate Hitler after killing all his elite Soviet spetsnaz bodyguards?? ~

        Also see this [youtube.com].

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      The same thing has happened in the movies. Often historical events were only used as distorted background. And movies are as games made for entertainment purposes. So what counts is entertainment value not historical accuracy.

      Shocking. Tell me again where accuracy is actually appreciated, outside of a profession or academics? Politics? Media? Religion?

      I say let Obama run the economy into the ground, we gotta focus on this video game historical accuracy issue.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
      Indeed! For instance, did you know that the Spartans actually spoke Doric Greek?

      There was no "Madness? THIS IS SPARTA!"
      • by Thanshin (1188877)

        !

        And yes, I did preview.

      • Indeed! For instance, did you know that the Spartans actually spoke Doric Greek?

        There was no "Madness? THIS IS SPARTA!"

        As I recall from school the Spartans told them to "Dig it out yourselves" when they tossed the Persian envoy into the well. This was in reference to their demand for earth and water. Obviously this was the English translation. The Athenians did not surrender either. They threw the Persians in a pit after putting them on trial.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      So what counts is entertainment value not historical accuracy.

      Indeed; it's just a game, not a fucking history lesson. Anyone who thinks a Gary Cooper movie is in any way like the old west, or in any way historically accurate, is woefully ignorant. Anyone who thinks any game is indicative of real history is just plain stupid; history is fixed, a game's outcome isn't.

      Sure, there are historically accurate movies (e.g., The Long Riders or Apollo 13), but one shouldn't expect a movie or especially a game to mirr

      • by mseeger (40923)
        Movie or game directors are not biased against truth. Usually it is just not entertaining enough or too complex for a popcorn munching viewer to understand.
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      This is one of the many reasons I loved Blazing Saddles: Not because it was historically accurate (not remotely), but because a number of the jokes were based on putting the real story of how the American west was somewhat civilized (Chinese-Americans and African-Americans worked to death building railroads, rampant racism, and so forth) in the middle of a Hollywood western.

  • Non issue (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iamapizza (1312801) on Friday October 23, 2009 @02:54AM (#29843325)
    It's a bloody video game. They have no obligation to you to be historically accurate, it's just a "standard" that we've set amongst ourselves probably out of boredom. Go cry about something else please. If you want accuracy (arguable), then read a history book.
    • Re:Non issue (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Trepidity (597) <.delirium-slashdot. .at. .hackish.org.> on Friday October 23, 2009 @03:17AM (#29843371)

      You could say that about novels, too, yet people complain about Dan Brown's historical inaccuracies to no end.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        You mean that wasn't a factual documentation?! WTF. I've been reading those for years searching out for my own clues. I thought it was a peer reviewed book on the NYT Top 10 for a good reason.

        Farking A. There goes my senior thesis.

      • I think the reason people bitch about Dan Brown is because there is a significant portion of people(many of them tinfoil hat types) who themselves believe his novels or significant portions of them are true. Which is really maddening, because if you look at his books, especially the DaVinci Code stuff, they are awful. Horrible characters, horrible dialog, and horrible pacing.
        • Re:Non issue (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Friday October 23, 2009 @09:35AM (#29845241) Homepage Journal

          It's more than that. It is my opinion that Brown specifically leverages people's misconceptions, prejudices, and even bigotry to make stories that will feed right into their beliefs, and which the more gullible will take as being based on historical fact, all the while claiming, truthfully, that it's all just for fun. He knows this happens. I believe he wants this to happen. Yet, there is plenty of plausible deniability to fall back on. On one hand, he can't help it if some of his audience are uncritical idiots who believe his stories are based on history, but he also has to know, and apparently is willing to accept that this will happen.

          There's no small amount of people fictionalizing history in a way which undoubtedly sows confusion and misunderstanding (Oliver Stone comes to mind), all the while claiming "it's only made up" while simultaneously being aware that many, many people will assume it's based on fact.

          And of course, there's no small amount of people who are simply distorting history to suit their own agendas.

          • Are you kidding? Have you read the DaVinci code? Right at the beginning it states that it's based on fact and that all the organisations and technology are real; then goes on into the largest bunch of conspiracy tripe that I have ever had to suffer reading.
            No he definitely sells it as real.

            • by Restil (31903)

              Return of the Living Dead had a similar message at the beginning of the film. So did Blair Witch project. These were clearly fiction. Well.. I say that. I did actually know someone who was convinced that the Blair Witch events actually happened, even going so far to say that the actors who were doing the talkshow circuit were just lookalikes... but he really was an idiot, so I guess that should be expected.

              -Restil

            • I most definitely have not read it, but I understand that the author has stated that it's a work of fiction. Of course, what you're telling me just helps support my claim that he's capitalizing on the gullibility of his audience.

              I also recall at the time that book was out that a local church (some flavor of Protestant, natch) was advertising a "Da Vinci Code study" every week, which just goes to show that even I am not always cynical enough. After all, what's to "study" in a fictional political-techno-thr

        • by jgtg32a (1173373)
          Pacing? I always thought that was the one thing Dan Brown was good at his books are shit but the pages turn themselves.

          My opinion of Dan Brown is he's an Epic Troll he mixes half truths with full lies and misinterpret/misrepresents everything to generate a good amount of controversy == marketing.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by viralburn (606633)
        The problem with dan brown is that he categorically states that certain information is based on fact, which is generally not the case.
      • And they are just as wrong.

        But retards will always be retards. The only problem is: If you start listening to them, they infect you. It's basically a mind virus.

      • by npsimons (32752) *

        You could say that about novels, too, yet people complain about Dan Brown's historical inaccuracies to no end.

        And his shitty writing. [telegraph.co.uk] It's one thing to write a rollicking good read that may not have all its technical details correct; it's another thing entirely to have formulaic plots, flat characters, *and* bad writing surrounding a core of fact after fact that is flat out wrong.

    • Only way I'd have problems with it is if the game presented itself as supposedly realistic and accurate to be used for teaching a given subject. Ok, well in that case it'd better be accurate. However for normal, just for fun games? Nope, don't care.

      To the extent they use history, it is mostly just as a general setting. Take a game like Rome Total War. Nobody, including the developer, is claiming that this is the way Roman history went. Hell, for it to be 100% accurate it couldn't be interactive since you co

    • Re:Non issue (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jurily (900488) <jurily.gmail@com> on Friday October 23, 2009 @04:06AM (#29843537)

      It's a bloody video game. They have no obligation to you to be historically accurate,

      Of course not. It's just that most players can't tell the difference [tvtropes.org] between the realistic parts and the fiction.

      • by aicrules (819392)
        Yeah, after the segment on WW2 in history, my child asked why the Allies didn't just type in IDDQD before D-day.
      • Your argument only makes sense, when you meant to be funny. Otherwise it's proven bullshit. Especially since the change of brain architecture that happened to post-1950 brains.

        Besides: Games are training for reality. But they are by definition different. Else they would be reality. And every mind understands that. Even the most primitive playing animals do understand the difference. Like two kittens or puppies, "fighting" with each other in a playful way.

        If someone lost this ability, his intelligence in tha

        • by Jurily (900488)

          Especially since the change of brain architecture that happened to post-1950 brains.

          [citation needed]
          What, earlier brains didn't use neurons?

          Besides: Games are training for reality.

          Oh, that's a good one. I imagine you're trained to always point your gun where you look and leap across fires. And you just step on first aid kits when you're injured.

      • oh god, man. you should have put a warning label on that link. it took me 4 hours to get back to this tab!
  • by Trepidity (597) <.delirium-slashdot. .at. .hackish.org.> on Friday October 23, 2009 @03:16AM (#29843367)

    Even games that have accurate summarizations of history in their story rarely use it to much good effect beyond a sort of flavorful seasoning. It's not really playable history that makes you think about it, in the way good historical fiction helps you understand and imagine aspects of history. If anything, the use of history in educational games like Oregon Trail is the closest to that, and even there it's a little superficial. (The article does correctly point out that alternate history has been dealt with pretty well in games... but oddly, real history, not so much.)

    We do, for whatever reason, have that more with current events to some extent. In the mid-1980s, Chris Crawford [wikipedia.org] released the excellent Balance of Power, which attempted to use gameplay to interactively illustrate [erasmatazz.com] some aspects of the Cold War. More recently, there's been a flurry of interest in "newsgames" and "persuasive games" [amazon.com], using games as a sort of editorial-cartoon-style take on smallish current issues, like tainted spinach outbreaks [shockwave.com].

    But where's playable history in any real fashion? It doesn't have to be pedantically boring, designed by Professors of Roman History to illustrate some sort of minutiae of interest to their field. Even semi-accurate, dramatized history of the History Channel variety would be interesting if it were playable in some significant sense, not just "you're playing an RTS that has Roman legions as units". Or something as good as the alternate-history games, but with actual history. Lack of interest? Too hard to figure out how to make it work? I mean this as a serious question, fwiw, not as berating game designers. It seems there's a lot of popular interest in at least some kinds of history, as evidenced by things like the History Channel, and yet in games we've gotten only really superficial elements. It may just be inherently impossible / really really hard, but somehow it seems to me that it ought to be doable.

    • Well. There's the Civilopedia? It's the one example with the most historic information I can think of right now.

  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Friday October 23, 2009 @03:18AM (#29843379) Homepage Journal

    What do we really know about history, anyway? You get different accounts of the same event by people who were actually there. Then, as the stories are propagated by those who weren't there, you get even more different stories. Eventually, things may be written down, and you may find evidence that fits with some stories but not others, but, in the end, what do we really know?

    Even in cases where there is agreement among people who have actually studied a historic event, what people at large believe about it is usually based on parroting what they hear from others. So, what we "know", then, is not actually what historians believe actually happened. And even that is only a belief.

    In that light, I see the more important aspects of games to be how much fun they are to play. Is the gameplay good? Is the experience immersive? Is the story believable enough? Feeling realistic and being in line with historic events (as applicable) is an important part of that, but I wouldn't say it is overwhelmingly important for games (it's different if you build a simulator for training, of course).

    And let's face it: if we went for total realism, there wouldn't be any game to play. There would be only one way to proceed, and that would be the way it actually happened in real life. That's not a game, that's a movie - and a specific genre, quite apart from the big hit movies. So let's not be too tough on games that deviate from history a bit more than others, given that none can possibly give a completely accurate account, anyway.

    On the other hand, if you are going to base your game on a historic event, you might as well faithfully depict the historic setting as we know it. Otherwise, what's the point? Unless you're making a parody, of course. :-)

    • by Goffee71 (628501)
      Having just read Bill Bryson's "Down Under." I'd agree with that. Its amazing how many different versions of the same 'fact' there are about various aspects of the country's history depending on which source you consult.

      I suspect the same goes for most places, periods and cultures
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AliasMarlowe (1042386)

        Its amazing how many different versions of the same 'fact' there are

        For instance, the largest naval engagement of the First World War was the battle of Jutland. Apparently, both sides won... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Jutland [wikipedia.org]

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Hognoxious (631665)

          True, but no mainstream historians think it was a victory for Venice over the Ottoman empire. That's to say there's a range of opinions, but there are limits and there's a core of facts that aren't disputed (even if it'ss only the place & date).

          And it is possible for both sides to win; tactically the Germans won (sank more ships) but strategically the British did (the German fleet ran home and never came out again).

          • by paragon1 (1395635)

            So it was tactical that the Germans strategically retreated?

            Are you confusing the Germans with the French?

            • The strategic situation for both navies was the same after the battle as before. Neither gained their hoped-for objective; both sides lost material and manpower, but not strategic position. The wikipedia article expounds on the topic, giving several viewpoints.
              All-in-all, it was rather inconclusive, allowing both sides to claim victory without much bare-faced lying. More realistically, both sides actually lost, since they thumped each other bloody, and gained nothing.
              • by relguj9 (1313593)
                More realistically, it was a draw.

                I think the battle is pretty interesting though and drives home the point of Churchill, "History is written by the victors."

                If it was, indeed, Churchill that originally quoted it!
          • by jgtg32a (1173373)
            Wouldn't that just be a Phyrric victory?
        • by dkleinsc (563838)

          Actually, it sounds like from Wikipedia like both sides lost, and claimed victory anyways (as military leaders are wont to do).

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      What do we really know about history, anyway? You get different accounts of the same event by people who were actually there. Then, as the stories are propagated by those who weren't there, you get even more different stories. Eventually, things may be written down, and you may find evidence that fits with some stories but not others, but, in the end, what do we really know?

      This question isn't really constricted to history, but to reality in general. Consider that were you an excellent world-reknown magici

    • What do we really know about history, anyway? You get different accounts of the same event by people who were actually there. Then, as the stories are propagated by those who weren't there, you get even more different stories. Eventually, things may be written down, and you may find evidence that fits with some stories but not others, but, in the end, what do we really know?

      Man, that's a depressing paragraph. Sounds like you're writing that in a darkened room with walls painted black, while listening to the Cure.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Friday October 23, 2009 @03:20AM (#29843387)

    Where you don't have to pay royalties for the ideas. In that sense, in video games, it plays the same role as a franchises such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings. Just as with history, with them you get major characters, direction of story (a plot), costumes, backdrop, and "feel".

    Now, I know with anime, most games don't get 'canon' exactly correct. Why should we expect they get history correct? In the end, it's just attribute it to artistic license.

    Moreover, the important part about the study of history isn't specific facts about narrow things, but the recognition of repeatable patterns due to human nature, and avoiding the same mistakes twice. For some reason, most history classes ignores this part, and zooms in on meaningless facts (such as dates) and the teachers almost never are concerned context, or the greater lessons learned, etc. The interpretation of most lessons is almost always left with the students, many of whom won't consider anything but memorizing the basic facts to pass the test.

    I had one excellent history professor, he lambasted the history channel for their distortions and mistakes. Why should we expect anything more out of a purely entertainment medium such video games than an (entertainment) TV channel supposedly dedicated to history? The best lesson to learn here is simply not to believe everything you read, see, or what someone tells you to without verification.

    • by Sique (173459)

      Exact dates are still one of the most important base facts in history, because without them it's not possible to point out causal connections. And if you want to achieve a certain learning from history, you need to look at causations and consequences.

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)
      The whole idea of history as repeatable is not really held to within the field. Just because results are similar does not mean history repeated itself. The factors that caused these similar outcomes may be completely different. History has no predictive value, it is only descriptive. It can allow you to understand how something got the way it is, but it cannot tell you where it will go from there. Whenever I hear someone say "history repeats itself", I usually see someone with very little schooling in
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      For some reason, most history classes ignores this part, and zooms in on meaningless facts (such as dates) and the teachers almost never are concerned context, or the greater lessons learned, etc.

      Are you referring to high school history class? Because the required undergrad history class I took didn't focus on dates and so forth, but the social implications of that history. Here [virginia.edu] is one of the textbooks for the class I had to take; I still have the paperback version.

      I had one excellent history professor, he

  • hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Friday October 23, 2009 @03:23AM (#29843401) Journal

    Video games can also grossly misrepresent evolution [spore.com], driving [wikipedia.org], archaeology [lucasarts.com] and just about anything else they're based on. They are for the most part a source of entertainment meant to create a virtual world that may or may not have anything to do with real life. That is the point. They're supposed to be fun. Sometimes the historical inaccuracy is the whole point; It can be fun to interact with a world that isn't historically accurate; alternate timelines for example.

    • by relguj9 (1313593)

      Video games can also grossly misrepresent evolution [spore.com], driving [wikipedia.org], archaeology [lucasarts.com] and just about anything else they're based on. They are for the most part a source of entertainment meant to create a virtual world that may or may not have anything to do with real life. That is the point. They're supposed to be fun. Sometimes the historical inaccuracy is the whole point; It can be fun to interact with a world that isn't historically accurate; alternate timelines for example.

      I'm pissed that my video game misrepresents Elves.

  • Whether it's World War 2, the American Wild West or ancient Greece, history has long provided a rich source of movie narrative. Historical fact has been painstakingly preserved in some movies, yet distorted beyond all recognition in others. Whereas one movie may be praised for its depiction of history, others have been lambasted for opening fresh wounds or glorifying tragic events of our near past. Movies have utilized historical narrative extensively, but to what extent does the platform take liberties wit
  • Hmph (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Arimus (198136) on Friday October 23, 2009 @03:49AM (#29843487)

    Of course thanks to the genius of Holywood we all know the Enigma machine was really stolen by a bunch of Americans (U-571) and not by Poles....

    Movies have been playing silly buggers with history since the first movies, video games are no different. Both are forms of escapism from reality.

    Why's this a) a suprise and b) taken so long for some to figure out?

    • Re:Hmph (Score:5, Informative)

      by Shrike82 (1471633) on Friday October 23, 2009 @05:44AM (#29843891)

      Of course thanks to the genius of Holywood we all know the Enigma machine was really stolen by a bunch of Americans (U-571) and not by Poles....

      I'm undoing a few moderations here but I'm afraid I just have to point out your horrific factual innacuracy. You slam Hollywood for saying American's captured the first complete Enigma machine, then you make up some nonsense that it was actually Poles? If you bothered to check your facts before criticising the facts of others you'd know it was the British, HMS Bulldog to be precise, that captured the Enigma machine in 1941.

      I can only hope that you were making some cryptic comment on the whole historical innacuracies situation, but even if that's the case; too subtle.

      • by _merlin (160982)

        He's just getting the characters confused - the Poles were involved: they developed the first versions of the "bombe" devices used for attacking the Enigma encryption.

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      That's nothing. The "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant" quote frequently attributed to Admiral Yamamoto? He never said that. It was invented by the screenwriters of Tora! Tora! Tora!

      So, while the story here might have a point, why does Hollywood get a pass? They've altered a lot more historical events than the gaming industry.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 23, 2009 @03:55AM (#29843509)

    The idea that history is "factual" rather than a rolling series of arguments is both interesting and amusing.

    I wonder, with what vehemence, slashdotters would react if historians of science and technology ceased reporting on the human practice of science, and began advising on code design?

    "Games have utilized historical narrative extensively, but to what extent does the platform take liberties with, and perhaps misuse it."

    Mainstream media rarely depicts the historian's conception of history as currently practiced. At best it is Whig history (telling history to create moral lessons for today). At worst it is a fantasy purporting to a relationship with reality. Do you really expect games to speak into the complex construction of self-identity? The formation of power within classes leading to social conflict? The institutional factors behind the limits of political decision making within and between states? Or the emergence of sub-altern narratives (the utterly voiceless repressed) through careful emergence of non-standard documentary traditions?

    At best your demand is Grognard: that the belt-buckles are accurate and that Division X was not in Location Y. If you truely want to look at games serving history, look up Stalin, a three turn economy simulator designed to test Stalin / Trotsky / Bukharinite debates about preventable deaths.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      First of all, the full title "Stalin's Dilemma" is so so so much more googleable. Second of all, it's not really THAT hard to provide the link, is it? Copypasta of your 'Stalin, a three turn economy simulator' has it on lucky.

      http://playthisthing.com/stalins-dilemma [playthisthing.com]
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      How about a WWII FPS that starts with you negotiating German reparations at Versailles, progresses through the effect of hyper-inflation on the German psyche, follows the competition between National Socialism and Marxism for populist support--all leading up the a brief period of warfare and an epilogue of mass rapes, economic devastation, and simmering hostility and distrust between the Soviets and the other former allied powers. Sounds like fun to me.
      • As a RTS, if you start early enough, there's Hearts of Iron II from Paradox. Well, or Victoria with the Revolutions addon with the Great War scenario, but it will stop in 1934 just in time for the Nazis to take over.

        As a RPG/FPS/First Person something, it could make an epic game of intrigue. And it would be pretty damn bleak, then again, if you like bleak... [wikipedia.org]

    • I disagree with some of what you said above, and I agree with some of it. I'm not going to bother highlighting either as that would require that I re-read it and quote it, which might cause my ass to bleed from the self-importance and grandiosity of your post. Allows me to summarize for others who might wish to debate:

      1: History is open to interpretation.
      2: Entertainment is historically inaccurate.
      3: History is about concepts, not facts.

      Not a whole lot there for all the bullshit you just spewed onto
  • Nonsense (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "Games have utilized historical narrative extensively, but to what extent does the platform take liberties with, and perhaps misuse it?"

    As someone who has studied history extensively for my degree and has somehow managed to use that for my career without being an academic, I take serious issue with the phrasing and implications here. Historical narrative is little more than an eloquent game of connect the dots. It takes liberties by necessity. Its misuse is only a matter of perspective. If you ever find
  • Wasn't Hitler killed in a French movie theater by two simultaneous plots by Jewish a girl and Jew-American soldiers?

  • There are history books, books loselly based in history, totally wild interpretations (like 300).
    There are history games (like wargames), books loselly based in history (typical shooter in Omaha beach), totally wild interpretations...

    Narrative is just a element in gamming. Like textures, fonts, GUI, models, ... and Gameplay. Gameplay is probably the 50% of a game, a 40% is visuals, and the other 10% is everything else. Theres only two type of games where history/narrative is really important for a game:

    • Exactly! Why expect games to be any better than any other medium? Now if the game maker was to, say, sell the game as being "educational" - then I'd say accuracy would be important. But heck, otherwise it's fair game (no pun intended). Heck, I remember a lesbian acquaintance waxing poetic about a feminist pseudo-history of the U.S. Civil War some years ago - she wasn't concerned about accuracy, other than the actual battle names.

    • by sowth (748135) *

      For Hollywood, a game is 10% (or less) gameplay, 90% visuals, screw everything else. Is there any surprise they don't go for historical accuracy? It is like being shocked finding out strippers didn't graduate from some Ivy League style dance school.

      They ruined movies by turning it into only action / adventure, romantic comedy, or kiddie show as a choice. Now games are mostly FPS crap with some RPG and RTS thrown in for good measure. Historical accuracy is only one small loss in a massive sea of crapulance

  • Kind of superficial (Score:3, Informative)

    by FornaxChemica (968594) on Friday October 23, 2009 @04:58AM (#29843713) Homepage Journal

    The content is rather shallow for an article entitled "History in Video Games", it's just a few recent cases. History plays an important part in several old video games: the majority of wargames (Civilization, Ages of Empire, Centurion Defender of Rome, Nobunaga Ambition, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, North and South, Napoleon), which he did not even mention once, semi-educative games like the Carmen Sandiego series and even your occasional action game !

    I was reviewing SNK's Guerrilla War on NES last week on my website. The Japanese version, entitled Guevara, is clearly a depiction of the Cuban Revolution, all the key names and some locations have been retained; you play as Che Guevara and Fidel Castro and the final boss is Batista.

    And a better example than Final Fantasy, among old RPGs, would have been The Battle of Olympus on NES set in Ancient Greece. Not to forget all the games from Japan who have references to their own history and myths, like Samurai Shodown.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      And a better example than Final Fantasy

      Any game would be a better example of not religously following history than a game with fantasy in the title.

  • and it's a genre that's been alive in the literary world for far longer than computers or for that matter electricity have existed.

    I know it's hard to imagine something has been done before computers, but setting a fictional account in a realistic historical setting is as old as the hills(with the Illiad being a likely example dating from as I recall about three thousand years ago in it's written form and probably substantially moreso in oral tradition).

    As to the whole Army of 2, six days in fallujah thing.

  • The real question is how we assess Star Wars for historical accuracy.

    A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....

  • I can't help but smile at the slashdot quote system that shows quotes at the bottom of the screen. As I'm reading this, it reads:

    Some parts of the past must be preserved, and some of the future prevented at all costs.

  • (Insert Historical Reference Here) have(has) utilized historical narrative extensively, but to what extent does(do) (Insert Historical Reference Here) take liberties with, and perhaps misuse it?

    Really though, a game is just a freaking game, it's not a history book. History books should be taken with a grain (perhaps a bushel) of salt anyways.

    If you're not reading and/or in-taking information that you intend on using as fact critically then you're not reading and/or in-taking information that you inte
  • by pezpunk (205653) on Friday October 23, 2009 @10:32AM (#29845917) Homepage

    For example, in 500AD, President Julius Ceasar of the Roman Empire discovered railroads, which led to Charles Darwin's Voyage, which as every schoolboy knows resulted in the Romans immediately aquiring the knowledge of both Amphibious Warfare and Economics, thus allowing them to finally end their 3000 year war with King Abraham Lincoln of the United States. This expansion led to much unrest amongst the populace, however, and in order to maintain order Ceasar was forced to convert nearly 35% of his worforce into Elvis impersonators.

    • Funny - though in a more serious tone I learned a bit of My History from the Age of Empires Series - seriously.

      Those games put so much effort into being as historically accurate as possible (at least in the single player campaigns) that they actually included some light reading in the game!

      I kid you not: The Main menu was like
      Single Player
      Multiplayer
      Map Editor
      History

      And upon the History Link you could learn about different facets of Medieval egyptian society, or the dozen other civilizations they put in the

    • Oh boy. Civ 1 and 2 were still fun, because it was so simple to hack them. With nearly no programming knowledge (back then), we nearly completely changed the intro and texts in Civ 1.
      - We made the creation of the universe a story of a guy who tripped over a stone, hit his head, and in that delirium invented the universe(TM).
      - All the nations were several fringe groups, with no respect to any political correctness. Nazis, Jews, Niggas (what you would now call black trash), (what you would now call) White Tra

  • I once had a game on my Mac called "Victory at Sea" (pre-OSX days). The game was buggy as hell, but the game was researched by Jim Dunnigan and Albert Nofi. They created a book of the same name from the research they had assembled.

    Great research, crappy game (because it was unplayable).

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.

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