"A historical game is a recreation of the circumstances surrounding history, rather than a reenactment of history," that's how Super Bunnyhop begins his conclusion in his latest video essay on using games to teach history.
Teaming up with History Respawned, a content creator that I've highlighted before, it's a discussion between the two on the potential use of games to teach history. John Harney, assistant professor of Asian History at Centre College, states that although video games have traditionally been utilized by philosophy and English professors for analyzing narrative and free will, there is also potential to place players in the "vintage realism" of historical settings.
For professor Harney, the tools with which to view history boils down to Contingency and Agency. With the former, that means that modern folks know that the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 played a huge role in the rise of the National Socialist Party in Germany. But when viewed with a perspective skewed toward Agency, the people back then had no way to know that.
Video games, therefore, have the potential to capture that Agency, of not knowing what will happen, but driving history forward.
It's a great watch, covering games like Civilization, Assassin's Creed, and more. See below.