Skip to content


Games & Simulations for Historians

The aim of this course is to explore ways of expressing historical narratives through interactive digital media and simulations. It aims to foster procedural literacy, to understand how technology and human meaning-making are mediated in codes (as evidenced in video games). Games literacy has three components, each building on the other: the ability to decode (play games); the ability to understand meanings (to read games); the ability to express meanings (to make games). Thus, we aim to go deeper than the mere representation of history in games. We mean to re-present history through the procedures of games. Thus digital media and simulations are an expressive media, a new lively art.

This does not mean that you have to be a programmer. There are many roles that need to be filled when we enter into this realm. But you do have to be willing to look under the hood, to work out how things…work. The final project is the creation of a detailed game/simulation design document, working in groups of five (ish).

These documents will be posted online and brought to the attention of the academic games-and-history crowd (yes, we exist!). The three that generate the most interest will receive a bonus.

Anything you produce above and beyond that (like a working prototype) is also a bonus.

My Ulterior Motive

I’m hoping that what will emerge out of this playful approach to the past is a substantial body of work that we can choose to bind together and call a ‘book’. That I can bind together your path through this maze, your boss battles, your levelling up, put it together with framing elements and transistions, and use it to level up the discourse surrounding games, simulations, and history.

I’m serious. It’d be all co-authored, and I might try to push it to these folks:

You with me?


Tags: , , ,