GWJ Conference Call 808

Wildermyth (PC), Phoenix Point(PC), Skyrim Anniversary Edition(PC), Kaycee's Mod for Inscryption(PC), Norco (PC), Weird West (XBOX), and Gaming the Past.

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Amanda, Rich, and returning guest host David Bauer are joined by Jerimiah McCall from Gaming the Past to discuss teaching history through video games.

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00:03:10 Wildermyth
00:03:58 Phoenix Point
00:06:27 Inscryption: Kaycee's Mod
00:12:27 Skyrim
00:17:00 Norco
00:28:45 Weird West
00:39:27 Gaming the Past

The Norco soundtrack is on bandcamp if you want to listen before choosing between the deluxe and normal editions.

I feel like the Simpsons predicted today's topic:

jontra wrote:

The Norco soundtrack is on bandcamp if you want to listen before choosing between the deluxe and normal editions.

Amazing! I ended up picking up the deluxe edition after the show, and it's an INCREDIBLE score. Folks should check out the bandcamp. Such great work music.

I'm 2-3hs into Norco and it's absolutely brilliant so far. One thing that Rich nailed is how, even when it's a mostly narrative based game without much action or puzzles, they still added a bunch of different kinds of interactions and elements to the interface that the game feels really engaging to play and makes you feel immersed in the history rather than a passive observer. I really enjoy going to the mind map as a way to uncover new clues and also remember where I was after I reload the game. I also appreciate that, despite the grim story and setting, the game still has a sense of humor and can make you laugh at the right time. Really excited to finish this one.

The discussion of history in games was super interesting and kudos to Rat Boy for a brilliant Simpsons reference. While this may be more of a geography than a history game, I have great memories of learning random stuff through the Carmen Sandiego games.

And yes, I am going to say something about racing games: I always appreciated and still appreciate when racing games show and teach something about the history of cars and racing. Gran Turismo was always a great example in that regard since the games include some "lore" and documentation about the manufacturers in the game. A small part of why GT4 will always remain my favorite in the series is that it included cars like the Ford Model T or the Daimler Motor Carriage (considered the first car ever made) not because they where usable as racing cars but just so that you could see how they compared to modern cars and read something about them.

EDIT: I almost forgot. I also wanted to mention Attentat 1942 as a great historical game. It is an account of certain events of WWII told as a narrative adventure game mixed with real accounts of the protagonists in FMV. Really well done. I see Jeremiah has reviewed it. The devs have made a second game in the same vein (Svoboda 1945: Liberation) that I haven't played yet.

How did no one talk about Crusader Kings 2/3?! It's the only reason I know anything about medieval Europe royalty and politics.

Loved the discussion about teaching history through games, and the limitations of the classroom setting (as well as setting up expectations -- my wife is a teacher and she agreed heartily with the observation that presenting a learning exercise as 'fun' isn't the automatic winner you'd expect).

Adjacent to that, and on more of a military history angle, I've been enjoying this new little series by History Hit, where they recreate historical battles using the Total War games. The first is on the battle of Hastings:

A lot of it is just visual background while they do their usual history narration, but it's also good to get a sense of the terrain and battle itself. It may put a lot of re-enactors out of work in future!