10 Video Games Based on Real Life Events
There are some who enjoy video games purely because the characters, settings, and events featured are generally so outrageous that they’re able to provide just enough of a moment of wonderment to wash away the thoughts of everyday burdens, if only for a while. Then there are those who enjoy video games because, as with any medium of entertainment, there’s something to be learned from it, be it emotionally or factually. That’s where these 10 video games based on real life events begin to shine.
Assassin’s Creed Series
Since 2007, the Assassin’s Creed series has developed a franchise steeped in history. You’ll often find yourself learning a lot, be it from the extra information the games offer you (courtesy of Shaun Hastings), or just because the protagonists of the series just can’t help but stumble into historically significant figures and/or events. It makes sense for the most part, since your targets are generally those who sought to shape the future, like Robert De Sable, the Borgias, Sehzade Ahmet, and Charles Lee, to name a few.
Brothers In Arms: Earned in Blood
If historical accuracy is indeed what you seek, then perhaps Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood will satisfy your hunger for history. The events following D-Day are told from a couple of different perspectives, mainly Seargent Joe “Red” Hartsock, commanding several platoons over the course of Operation Overlord, such as the Battle of Carantan, and the Battle of Bloody Gulch. The game has events recounted by Hartsock for army historian, Colonel S.L.A Marshall. While certain characters, such as the protagonist, are wholly fictitious, the game overall was able to quite accurately depict the WWII events that would ultimately liberate Northwest Europe from the Nazis.
On a considerably smaller scale is the lesser known Dyatlov Pass Incident which occurred on the 2nd of February, 1959. The incident involved nine experienced hikers from the former Ural Polytehnical Institute, all of which were found dead on beneath Kholat Syakhl (Dead Mountain) from mysterious circumstances over the course of four months. While the indie survival-horror game, narrated by Sean Bean, doesn’t use the real names of the people involved, it does follow the known events relatively closely, which makes the game that much more eerie.
Medal of Honor Series
Unsurprisingly, there are quite a few video games out there that follow the events of WWII, while some of them take liberties with the real events in order to weave more simplistic and fast-paced tales, games such as those in the Medal of Honor series do not follow suit. In 2010, the series arose from dormancy and offered people the chance to play through its depiction of the Afghan war. The plot and characters are fictitious but the setting was praised. Although the game was subject to some of amount of expected controversy, owing to the teams featured in its multiplayer.
Age of Empires I & II
Many of you might hear or read ‘history’ and ‘video games’ and think, “that sounds like our favourite real-time strategy game, Age of Empires”. Well of course that series would be included on this list. We all remember how the Egypt rose from its humble beginnings. We all know how William Wallace defended Scotland from the English until the Battle of Falkirk. We all know how Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar’s brilliant wife, Ximena, helped to defend Valencia from the Almoravids under Yusuf Ibn Tashfin. We know all that because their campaign missions were each an excitingly woven tale we could unravel as we cleared the fog of war…or with assistance from good ol’ furious the monkey boy.
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Moving away from the ages of antiquity, we return to the modern era closer to home. Call of Duty: Black Ops places us in the Cold War through the eyes of Alex Mason as he recounts various events under interrogation, such his involvement with Operation 40, a real US-government sanctioned, CIA sponsored counter-intelligence group comprised of Cuban exiles. The game, like some, as previously stated, takes liberties with its source material, but the technology, historical figures, and important events adhere close to the source material.
The fun thing about this third-person action/mystery game set in L.A., aside from the hilariously robotic movements relative to the motion-captured facial performances, is the fact that every case featured in the game is based on a real-life occurance, including the Black Dahlia murder. Of course, there are a few (again, like the Black Dahlia murder) that even today, remain unsolved. It’s still quite an educational experience if you’re interested in that sort of thing.
Rise of Nations
One of the best real-time strategy games out there, Rise of Nations follows the development of civilisation, and offers the opportunity to follow the development of 18 different civilisation ranging from the Mayans to the Greeks, each equipped with special powers with which to rise, such as the power of architecture, and the power of philosophy, respectively. Units have real-life counterparts respective to the nation and survival of said nation.
Europa Universalis Series
Grand Strategy games have always been known to possess some amount of educational value, owing to the insight into the political, economical, and geographical factors that decided the outcome of major historical battles. That’s one of the reasons why the Europa Universalis series has succeeded for so long. Its campaigns allow us a glimpse into the difficulty with which events such as the American Revolution took place. The series is unique in that it allows you to pick from one of a hundred civilisations, and play through their history with considerable accuracy. If you are indeed looking for a more educational experience in your gaming collection, Europa Universalis is definitely a game you should add to your list.
Rise of Prussia
Another grand-strategy game worth mentioning is Rise of Prussia, the 2010 addition to AGEOD’s series of historically set video games. In this game, you get to pick between Prussia and Austria. There are 200 leaders to choose from, each one with a special bonus. You’ll play through 20 European campaigns covering the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763). It was an interesting time and this is an interesting game, if you enjoy a bit of history in your entertainment.