97 years ago, on the 11th of November, the most horrific war the world had ever witnessed ended.
World War I had a final death toll of 17 million people and a further 20 million wounded. It was labelled the ‘Great War’, ‘the war to end all wars’. The 11th of November was made a day of remembrance and reverence, a day to pay our respects to those who actively fought for our freedom and allowed for us to live in the comfort we enjoy today.
Nowadays this tradition is upheld on the closest Sunday to the 11th of November, Remembrance Sunday. Since 1914 an estimated 191,356,238 people have lost their lives fighting in wars around the world. Once a year we take the time to remember them, appreciate them. We show our support together, as a nation, by wearing the symbolic red poppies.
There are many ways we can grow our appreciation for those who have gave their lives for their country. Games may not immediately jump to mind. Initially, games could be considered a disrespectful or inappropriate way to show appreciation. However, there are many games that can give a taste of the true atrocity war is; this is important to appreciate so war is never thought of trivially, as a solution or first resort.
We have carefully selected a short list of games can be used to teach about war and its' realities rather than using war as an entertainment device.
The first on our list is one of the highest rated war games there is to ‘play’. Verdun pays great attention to detail; using authentic weaponry from World War I, even the music is typical of the era. For anyone who wants to really learn how horrific the trenches were, this is a great resource.
Making History: The Great War launched with the National World War I Museum. This game aims to teach players the complexities of war. It is a strategy game where the player can fight to change the course of history. The game has key events that follow World War I’s path. It is best used as a tool for understanding what countries were involved in World War I and the roles each of them had.
War Thunder doesn’t proclaim to be a teaching tool, however, it focuses its attention on the vehicles and crafts used throughout World War II. Like Verdun, they pay very close attention to detail. A good resource to learn more about the aircraft, ships, tanks and the people that operated them.
Stepping into present times and modern warfare we have Americas Army, Proving Ground. This game has been developed by the U.S. army as a recruitment tool. It is supposed to test whether the player is suitable to become an U.S. Army soldier, through analysing how the player works as part of a team, makes decisions, etc.
The last on the list of games I would really like to highlight is This War of Mine. This game looks at war from a different point of view. The player is responsible for the lives of a small group of civilians trying to survive in a war zone. The game progression changes dependant on the player’s choices and the moral implications of those choices. In March 11bit studios released a DLC for This War of Mine, 100% of proceeds go to the charity ‘War Child’. Games like these, games that teach, games which draw attention to real and serious issues should be noted and appreciated. They help us learn about ourselves, test our values and educate us.
These types of games grow our appreciation for the sacrifices made. This is just a short collection of games that harness war as a teaching device rather than as an entertainment gimmick. If there are others that are worth noting, please drop us a comment.