Earlier this month, Alice mentioned history revisionism in this post. Like she duly noted, I didn’t know what a trebuchet was until I played Age of Empires II. Heck, when we would LAN party AoE II, we would all pronounce it differently — treh-beh-ket, treckle-buck (not me, a buddy!), others. It wasn’t until I played the campaigns that I learned it’s proper pronunciation. But Age did “educate” me in the finer points of siege weaponry. What? I learned about something in a game? Of course I didn’t do any research on my own, I took Ensemble on their word.
Foton also mentioned this here, with his 14-year old nephew receiving history lessons from Battlefield: Vietnam. In typical Foton fashion, we get this great quote:
I swear, a well-designed shooter could completely revise world history and I’d run around telling people that Marxism could work if only we’d come together, right now, over me.
So in other words, games that have a foundation in history demand extra attention by the developer, and in particular, the history buffs (PhDs, if you will) they hire as experts. (They do it!) It’s important that they realize their interpretation of history will be taken at face value by thousand of gamers who are blissfully unaware that they are actually “learning” something.