Historical video games are more than just fun.
As we enter into the year 2010, video games are more popular than they ever have been. Because of this popularity, they are being looked at more closely by scholars and being studied in a wide range of areas. One of these areas involves video games and their educational value, particularly in the history classroom. I have done some research regarding this very topic and have come to this conclusion: Video games that explore historical storylines, such as Call of Duty which portrays World War II, allow students to experience their history lessons firsthand making them a valuable addition to classroom textbooks.
The following links and video support this idea that video games like Call of Duty portray history in a way that is similar to reenactment, allowing players to learn while enjoying themselves.
Call of Duty, a well-known and best-selling game of this generation, has always been known as an almost perfectly accurate portrayal of the events of World War II. The company that created it has also boasted of the game's historical accuracy, even saying in the beginning of the following trailer for Call of Duty 3 that they are "the #1 WWII franchise for the next generation." Treyarch, one of the creators of the game, has discussed their historical accuracy in this interview where he mentions that a lot of research went into the development of this series. Take a look at this brief trailer to get an idea of the game itself and also at the interview to see the historical accuracy of it as well.
This video clip does not specifically mention Call of Duty, but it does explore the uses of historical video games in the classroom. CBS News talked to a man named Daniel Sieberg about his use of a WWII game Making History several years ago. Even fathers at home are showing their children that there is more to their favorite game than meets the eye, as in this case of Hugh Spencer and his son's love of Call of Duty.
Another article, Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway: Good enough to be a training aid? took a slightly different look at games and their value. The writer chose to take a look at the game Brothers in Arms and see if he could potentially use it as a training aid for his soldiers. Similar to video game use in education, this article sheds light on yet another way that historical video games can be used to teach.
Moving back to Call of Duty, the following video shows how much history is packed into the game. The president of Treyarch, David Stohl, discusses the background of Call of Duty, and while he does not specifically discuss historical accuracy, he does describe in detail the storyline of the game, which coincides with that of history, and talk about how the game is very realistic. Players feel like they were really there.