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10 Video Games That Just Might Help You On That History Test

For when just hitting the books doesn't cut it.

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Before we begin, let's acknowledge all the history teachers furiously typing in the comments.

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Yes, we know these games aren't accurate. No game is ever fully accurate. It's a video game, and it will never replace actual scholarship. No one is saying otherwise, so let's take it back a notch, shall we?

Also, if you just play these games instead of reading your textbook, you will fail the class.

Cengage Learning/McGraw-Hill Education/Harper Perennial Modern Classics / Via

With that said, these games bring historic people and events alive in a way that could be useful.

Firaxis Games / Via

Having a hard time understanding what went down at the Battle of Bunker Hill? Or what the Schlieffen Plan was? It's easier to remember these things when you literally play through them. Playing these games and reading your class texts provides a cool synergy that could help you remember details.

Okay then, let's dive into it.

Ubisoft / Via

1. 1066


1066 is a strategy game that tells the story of the Norman conquest of England and the Viking invasions of England. The online game allows you to play through the Battle of Fulford, the Battle of Stamford Bridge, and the Battle of Hastings. It's also a great way to learn antique insults, such as "foul dog scut."

2. Assassin's Creed: The Ezio Collection

Ubisoft / Via

Look, there's going to be a lot of Assassin's Creed on this list. Not because there's anything remotely historically accurate about the war between Templars and Assassins. That is totally fictional and you should never mention it in your essays. However, the series does hire historians to bring accuracy to the world and people of the games. For instance, the Ezio Collection is a pretty good overview of life in Italy and Constantinople during the 15th and 16th centuries.

3. High Tea


High Tea is an online trading game where you try to buy low, sell high, and not get caught by the authorities as you sell Opium to China in the years leading up to the Opium Wars. It's a simple and aesthetically pleasing game about one of the sketchier periods in British history.

4. Assassin's Creed III

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The biggest issue with Assassin's Creed III is that a Native American probably wouldn't be helping George Washington to win the American Revolution. Beyond that, the game really tries to portray the Mohawks accurately. The game also has very vivid sequences around major events of the revolution, such as the Boston Massacre and Bunker Hill.

5. Valiant Hearts: The Great War

Ubisoft Montpellier / Via

Valiant Hearts uses a beautiful artistic style to bring a human element to World War I. Paul Tumelaire, the game's Art and Creative Director, says "We decided to create a game about war, not a war game." The heart-wrenching game plays through many of the notable battles, while introducing players to documents and artifacts from the war along the way.

6. Civilization VI

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Civilization VI allows you to play 21 of the most famous rulers and leaders in history. Each leader's special ability is based on something historic from their reign. For example, you'll understand why America gets +5 strength on their home continent when you understand what the Roosevelt Corollary was.

7. Assassin's Creed: Syndicate


While the game loses a little historical cred for it's bizarre DLC where Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin solve mysteries together, it does employ the work of historian Judith Flanders to faithfully recreate the language and minutia of daily life in Victorian London. Shout out to the game for including a pretty good representation of Karl Marx, a historic figure you probably didn't expect to meet in a video game.

8. 1979 Revolution: Black Friday

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The Iranian Revolution isn't as well known as it should be to many Americans. 1979 Revolution: Black Friday offers a way to immerse yourself in the revolution and learn about a conflict that shaped modern Middle Eastern history. Kill Screen offers high praise for the game, calling it a "near-equal blend of historical thriller and interactive exhibit."

9. The Oregon Trail

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Anyone of a certain age is going to remember The Oregon Trail. For those of you that don't, it's worth playing just so you can understand the You Have Died Of Dysentery meme. It's also worth playing as a pretty accurate learning tool about America's western expansion. There are, of course, a few exceptions. Like, maybe shooting thousands of pounds of buffalo would have been a bad idea back in the day.

10. Assassin's Creed: Unity


The historical issues — and there are several — in Assassin's Creed: Unity are well documented in the Kill Screen review of the game. With that said, it does a great job of capturing the mobs of the French Revolution. The mob, as Revolutions host Mike Duncan points out, is a very important character in the French Revolution. After doing your requisite reading on the period, a stroll through the angry streets of Paris in Unity can really make the era's pervading sense of danger and fear jump to life.

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