Term of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Name

Master of Arts in History (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)


Department of History

Committee Chair

Craig Roell

Committee Member 1

JuanJuan Peng

Committee Member 2

Eric Hall

Committee Member 3

Eric Hall


How can something considered by many within academia as childish or a waste of time be potentially useful in presenting or even studying history? Not only has the video game industry grown into one of the largest forms of media in the world, but these games are also finding use as a training aid for the military and major companies, as an advertising medium, and, most importantly, as a tool for teaching. As developmental capabilities improve with new generations of graphics hardware, video games are turning towards the recreation of real-world and historical events. This drive towards realism and accuracy also brings an increase in the amount of historical research done in order to insure the accuracy of a game's content. This growing interest in historical accuracy resulted in thorough research and the use of historical advisors in order to insure that these games were constructed with an acute attention to detail. By presenting a number of games which use historical information and attempting to explain how developers are working within historical frameworks, this paper attempts to show outside observers that not only can these games garner interest by presenting history to a large number of players, but the potential exists for games which could change the way historians view particular events. In the end, the true potential of video games to affect historical study is based largely on how many teachers, professors, and other scholars are willing to look past the stigma associated with the term "video game" and work with developers to capitalize on the potential these games possess.