Rewriting History

Games with historic themes have been popular since the early beginnings. Popular historic game titles are Command & Conquer, Rome: Total War and Age of Empires. One of the game studios that has been popular lately is Paradox Interactive, a Swedish game studio. They made many successful historic games in the past and are still making new titles and expansions. Currently their most popular games are: Crusader Kings II, Europa Universalis IV and Hearts of Iron IV. Normally historic games focus on simplicity and use history to inspire the game, but with the Paradox games it is different. Paradox Interactive releases many expansions for their games which do not only enhance the gameplay, but also add historical correctness. The starting points in these games are all completely historical. When you start you can decide to follow the history of the world, but you can also choose to follow a different path to see what the alternate history would look like. Many interesting situations could happen: What if Charlemagne adopted primogeniture succession? What if China focussed on colonising the new world? What if the central powers won the first world war? And what if Germanywent Communist in the interbellum? These are all situations that were possible in history. By reshaping history you will learn about real history as well. Not only do you learn why choices were made, you will also develop an understanding of the world of the past.

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Even Stalin did his rewriting

Rewriting history isn’t something new. As seen above, even Stalin did it. And in this modern age it is even more common (and easy). We see it all the time that people try to change their history to make themselves look better in the present. An example could be to delete pictures (I deleted all the pictures that show me having short hair with bangs).

Nowadays there are a lot of history games in which you can alter history. Previously mentioned is Crusader Kings II. Here we start in a legit historical moment. But from that moment onward the choices made matter. It really gets you thinking about cause and consequence (principal matters when one studies history. One other factor that I consider to be important is that in Crusader Kings II you play with almost the whole world. It shows that in history there is a cohesion. If there are developments in Russia, this could affect your civilization elsewhere. Politics also play a big role in this. In Civilization you cannot just attack everyone sneaky. The other leaders will then publicly denounce you and you could be slightly f****d then.

It could be really useful for children to play this as it shows history as a contuining thing and not as just a series of (maybe unfortunate) events. In the past I used to teach 14 year olds history and I noticed that cause and consequence is really something they struggled with. History is supposed to be learnt as a story and not a just a bunch of facts. Games like these could really enhance history education nowadays. Because eventually history isn’t just about learning all these facts, but it is about learning certain skills and applying these to situations. These games will really change the way people (or in this case children) will see history and politics. They will get a real insight in international history aswell as politics. So while rewriting history may sounds ridiculous, it offers a lot of opportunities that one might not see at first sight.

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