Jul 22, 2017 Last Updated 4:51 PM, Jul 22, 2017

Can Gaming Be Educational?

Published in Editorial
Read 1157 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)
Tagged under

Video games are made to entertain, to provide a challenge, or maybe to let the player escape the stress of real life for a while. This is why gamers buy games, for the most part. That’s why series like Fallout, Battlefield, and Civilization are so popular. We feel accomplished and thrilled when we rank-up or complete an objective. Game can also tell stories and let the player shape the worlds of those tales.

But what else can you get from playing video games?

I have been playing Europa Universalis IV recently, and conquering all of Europe never felt so uplifting. When I first started playing, I did what everyone does when faced with a new game: I learned how the mechanics worked and what strategies fit my style. Great – I learned how to play a new game. But, what else did I learn? I learned about the true power of the Ottoman Empire. I learned that Russia can trace its roots back to a nation called Muscovy. I learned about the Habsburg Monarchy and their connection to the Holy Roman Empire.

I learned more about world history playing Europa Universalis than I did in school. But that’s a skewed example. I mean, Europa Universalis is a game based on world history.

What could you learn from a game like Battlefield, or Call of Duty?

You can learn about different world conflicts, for example, the First and Second World Wars, the Vietnam War, and the Cold War, for starters. But what of the made-up conflicts in the more recent installments of these series? I’d argue that the un-historical stories of the franchises are insights into contemporary international relations. Why, for example, is the enemy for so many of these games the Russians or the Chinese? Could it be a reflection of world politics? That could be a bit of a stretch, but the point remains.

You can learn a whole bunch about history and the world through video games, but that’s only half of the boss fight. What is more powerful than having all this information and knowledge laid out before you? Interest! When you are interested, you are more likely to research more about the game’s background, or study what the game references. I started out merely playing Europa Universalis, but that grand strategy game sparked my interest in history, and now I’m reading a book about medieval Europe.

That’s fine for me, but what if you don’t dig history like I do?

There are video games for just about any topic; it doesn’t even have to be one of the basic school subjects. Any game – be it a shooter, an RPG, or any other genre – can spark an interest and lead to learning. What if it’s a fantasy game? Final Fantasy, The Elder Scrolls, and World of Warcraft are each full of rich lore, oftentimes with parallels and allusions to real-world folklore. Congratulations, you just expanded your mind!

So, pick your favorite game, or one that you’ve been playing recently. What intrigues you about it? It doesn’t have to be the main theme of the game, maybe just an isolated event or an oblique reference. Take a moment to look it up; you never know where it could lead you.

Daniel Gerrits

For about as long as Daniel can remember, he was a gamer. His lifestyle first started with flash games online. Next, he was playing Lego Star Wars and Ty the Tasmanian Tiger on the PlayStation 2. In his teen years Daniel moved onto the Xbox 360 with Halo Reach, Black Ops and Battlefield. Now that he has evolved into the master-race of PC gaming, he spends most of his time playing grand strategy and RPGs, but he never forgets his roots. When Daniel isn't working on his family farm in New Jersey or studying for college, you can bet he's gaming.

Related items

  • BadLand Games Publishing Announced

    Spanish video game distributor and publisher BadLand Games, announces today the foundation of BadLand Games Publishing. With the opening of the new BadLand Games Research Poland office in Warsaw and a modern corporate identity, the company's publishing operations can officially expand on working in collaboration with more highly talented and innovative developer studios.

  • BIG Festival 2017 Reveals International Competition Winners

    The award ceremony of the 5th edition of BIG Festival, Latin America’s largest independent games event, took place on the night of June 29th, in the Adoniran Barbosa auditorium, in São Paulo Capital city, Brazil. General public, special guests and game developers crowded the audience, anticipating the final results that would announce the winners of the 13 categories in the competition, including Best Game, Best Brazilian Game and People’s Choice. And the cooperative cooking game Overcooked, by Phil Duncan’s Ghost Town Games, took home the most coveted trophy of the night: the Best Game of BIG Festival 2017.

  • Devolver Presents The Swords of Ditto Gameplay Video

    On the Island of Ditto, players will get to experience a “micro RPG” of sorts, with players exploring a delightful but dangerous overworld and braving menacing dungeons to overcome the evil that plagues of the island.

  • MAINGEAR Announces 1ofONE + X X299 Pre-Orders

    MAINGEAR introduces 1ofONE, the first program of its kind. This allows the customer direct access to MAINGEAR’s world class craftsmen to create a one of a kind PC. Previously available via invite only to select brands and influencers, MAINGEAR’s 1ofONE program has conceived some of the industry’s most unique and celebrated custom PC builds.

  • North American Verdun Championship 2017

    The North American Verdun Championship (NAVC 2017) on Twitch, the weekend of July 15-16, 2017. With a prize bundle of US $1,000.00 plus $1,000.00 in game giveaways, teams and friends come together for some heated encounters on the maps of Picardie, Aisne, Vosges, Artois, and Argonne.

  • Fabraz Interview with Fabian Rastorfer

    OPN had an opportunity to speak with the developers at length about their continuing work with Slime-san. Their answers show inside-track glimpses of the challenges and expectations of indie studios who seek to maintain and expand a title after release.

  • OPN DevLounge Monthly - June 2017

    Episode Six, Season One! OPN's DevLounge Monthly is a lively conversation between game developers on Twitch, on the hottest PC games to be released this upcoming month. Watch it on twitch.tv/opnoobsonline every month, and win tons of great games!

  • Microïds to work with Eden Games. Project Announcement Coming Soon.

    Microïds, who already works with authors and studios (including Benoit Sokal – Syberia, Paul Cuisset – Subject 13, Artefact Studios – Moto Racer and Pendulo Studios – Yesterday Origins), announced they are now working with Eden Games, a studio specialized in simulation racing games. Historically known for their adventure games, Microïds have had a diversified catalog and are now showing their desire to support the French video game industry.

Latest Shows

Expeditions: Vik…

Circa 790 AD. A small band of Norse warriors lands on the shores of England. History may have forgotten their names, but their actions live on. As the chieftain of your clan, let a...

Dawn of Andromed…

Dawn of Andromeda is a pausable, real-time 4X space strategy game providing an accessible, fun and immersive experience, introducing fresh ideas to the genre. Build your empire, co...

The Walking Dead…

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier – Episode 5 is a gripping, emotional ending to this chapter in the series, but it's also one that doesn't quite hit the mark as well as the prior s...

Yonder: The Clou…

For an open-world, immersive experience replete with quests, fishing, farms, and more, look no further than Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles. The design is apt to please any ga...

Dead Purge: Outb…

Dead Purge: Outbreak is not fun or innovative, borrowing too heavily from many superior titles. Ultimately, the title is a zombie itself: slow-moving, mindless, collapsing readily ...

inVokeR Early Ac…

inVokeR is, by far, the best spell-casting virtual reality experience that I’ve played, thanks in large part to its immersive controls and exciting combat. If more modes and featur...