Mar 27, 2017 Last Updated 11:41 AM, Mar 27, 2017
Crookz Needs To Take The Big Heist Back To The Drawing Board

Crookz Needs To Take The Big Heist Back To The Drawing Board

Let’s be clear here. Kalypso Media should be commended for creating a ...

The Secret of Blizzard Entertainment’s Success

The Secret of Blizzard Entertainment’s Success

There are few companies in the world that have such a profound impact ...

Morality Systems: Great Idea, Terrible Execution

Morality Systems: Great Idea, Terrible Execution

It’s fair to say that one of the most appealing aspects of video games...

Can Gaming Be Educational?

Published in Editorial
Read 520 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.

Last modified on Monday, 06 February 2017 22:23
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

  • Mass Effect: Andromeda and the Art of French Cooking

    A Filet De Boeuf Braise Prince Albert costs you about $60 to make, which is oddly the same amount that the fourth release in the Mass Effect franchise will run you. But the filet of beef has an incredible amount of thought, love, and passion; none of that was present in the making of Mass Effect: Andromeda. 2/10. You could waste $60 on one of the most reviled titles in recent history and log countless hours playing alone in the basement, or you could spend the same amount on the most fabulous dinner you’ve ever made, and more than likely get laid.

  • NieR: Automata - AAA Anonymous Epi. 12

    With AAA Anonymous, we discuss our latest AAA game addiction, until the next one replaces it. This episode covers SQUARE Enix's PC release of NieR Automata.

  • From the Desk of The Editor-in-Chief: PAX East - Part I

    The PAX team should be commended for the exceptional management of the event itself. The "Red Shirts," or "Enforcers," that is, event staff, were generally very helpful and polite. A majority of the staff was local to either Boston or the state of Massachusetts, so their demeanor reflected very positively on the locale.

  • OPN DevLounge Monthly - March 2017

    Episode Five, 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 and win tons of great games, including the #1 winner on our list!

  • Games with Bad Raps and Rappers with Bad Games

    Many games are based on real-life events, but to my recollection, I’ve never witnessed a real-life event based on a video game. That is, until the recent rivalry between entertainer Chris Brown and rapper Soulja Boy, which resulted in negotiations for a sanctioned boxing match between the two. It took 15 years, but the Def Jam fighting games have finally crossed over into reality with what could have been the story arch for the next entry in the series.

  • For Honor - AAA Anonymous Epi. 11

    With AAA Anonymous, we discuss our latest AAA game addiction, until the next one replaces it. This episode covers Ubisoft's PC release of the much anticipated medieval multiplayer, For Honor.

  • Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book - AAA Anonymous Epi. 10

    With AAA Anonymous, we discuss our latest AAA game addiction, until the next one replaces it. This episode covers Koei Tecmo's PC release of their JRPG, Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book.

  • OPN DevLounge Monthly - February 2017

    Episode Four, 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 and win tons of great games, including the #1 winner on our list!

Latest Shows

OPN DevLounge Monthly - March 2017

OPN DevLounge Mo…

Episode Five, 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 o...

For Honor - AAA Anonymous Epi. 11

For Honor - AAA …

With AAA Anonymous, we discuss our latest AAA game addiction, until the next one replaces it. This episode covers Ubisoft's PC release of the much anticipated medieval multiplayer...

River City Ransom: Underground Review

River City Ranso…

River City Ransom: Underground is fantastic in how it truly captures the feel of retro games, and it’s clear from the experience that Conatus Creative provides the desire and requi...

Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy Review

Operation Abyss:…

Although it succeeds in both maintaining familiarity for fans of the genre and introducing novelty, Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy fails to deliver engaging combat or efficientl...

Streets of Rogue Early Access Review

Streets of Rogue…

Without a doubt, few things are more appealing than a good excuse to log online and murder random opponents with my friends – and, typically, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) varie...

MyWorld Early Access Review

MyWorld Early Ac…

Clunky combat provides shallow gameplay and limited tactical variety, quests are few and repetitive, and progression brings nothing other than higher numbers on your screen. The wo...

Mass Effect: Andromeda Review

Mass Effect: And…

Andromeda is robust and delivers effectively on the key elements it advertises, and then goes above and beyond regarding play style tailoring and experienceable customization. That...

Bad Dream: Coma Review

Bad Dream: Coma …

Whether you are new to the series, or just looking for a creepy game to mess with your perception of reality, Bad Dream: Coma is not one to miss. The atmosphere is dark and gritty...