Historical Accuracy in Video Games

  1. Historical accuracy is very important in history based video games for several reasons.  The first that comes to me is doing a reverence to veterans who fought in those battles and lost comrades.  While those veterans might not be the audience that plays video games it would be a dishonor to turn an actual battle into a work of fiction.  Second, the more accurate a historical games storyline is, with detailed descriptions of buildings and the people, the more educational the game can be, allowing it to be used in classrooms.
  2. I would hope other students would attempt to take the game seriously rather than just trying to blow off steam, not that theres anything wrong with that sometimes.  I would hope they are paying attention to the game’s environment and take note of things they might have heard about or seen before in their everyday world.  Then compare what they know to what they are experiencing.  Being a fan of FPS and war games I have whole collections of WWII games, the most popular war made into video games, besides the Civil War.  Medal of Honor and Brothers in Arms were to me the most realistic and followed details of specific, well-known battles.  Especially as a child playing with what would today be considered horrible graphics, I felt transported into the boots of a G.I. in North Africa or landing on Omaha Beach.  I would react to the game as if it were more than just a game, cursing loudly when I die or ducking when someone pops out and starts shooting at me.  That is the experience that video games offer that no other medium besides virtual reality can offer.  Video games encompass many of the human senses including hearing, sight, and touch; as opposed to a book or movie which touches on one or two senses.
  3. As noted in question 2, video games tie together many senses that ensure a more realistic experience.  Video games personally allow me to become someone else for a few hours.  Whether its Master Chief from Halo or Trevor from GTA 5, I tend to take on whatever character I am playing as.  In Assassins Creed I do not go on rampages shooting wildly like I would in Halo.  I switch to a more cunning and decisive player to match the games content.  One advantage games have over other mediums is the ability of the player to choose how the story ends.  While they are following a storyline, certain actions can be done such as shooting innocent people or another incident that never actually happened in history but the player decided to recreate history by doing certain things. Films and novels do not allow the reader or viewer to decide what to do next or give them the ability to influence the main protagonist like a video game can. While this can be a drawback to historical accuracy it depends on the developers how far from the truth players can stray.
  4. The value in history based video games is recreating the past for people of the present.  It allows people who know very little history to experience it in a vastly different way than reading a textbook or watching a film clip.  Rather than reading a synopsis of a time period, a video game transports you into that time period where you can participate with people of that era and learn what the context of the era is like by viewing the buildings, people, and architecture.
  5. One of the biggest barriers to new gamers is the complexity of modern day video games.  We are far from the Pac-Man days and today video games are more complex than ever before with new additions like virtual reality and 3-D technology.  From personal experience I used to play FPS games with my dad but he stopped because he felt he couldn’t learn the controls for an X-box or Playstation. As it goes for most people, their abilities stop at the PC, leaving a whole world of technology and experiences closed to them.  Encompassing actions of moving, shooting, reloading, jumping, aiming, running, punching, braking, accelerating, switching items, talking, opening doors, getting in vehicles, all identified by a different button, non-traditional gamers struggle to pick up the flow with current technology and having no prior experience.

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