Games and simulations are increasingly seen as worthy of academic study and application. Games can not only engage, but they can help develop analytical and critical-thinking skills. They also provide creative possibilities for differentiated learning.
Today there exist a whole range of free and fee-based games and simulations to provide creative opportunities for students to hone their knowledge and understanding of historical events and characters.
Here is a select listing of free online history games and simulations:
- BBC Dimensions: Ancient Worlds – Explore the scale of ancient worlds and historic journeys by overlaying them on other locations on a Google Map.
- 1066 The Game – You’ll take the field with the Saxons, the Normans, and the Vikings to fight battles which decided England’s fate.
- Viking Quest – Role play the Viking invasions of Britain and make critical decisions along the way. Each quest results in a score that allows class or students to compete for the highest score.
- Great Fire of London Animation – See contemporary etchings of the London skyline, showing the extent of the devastation. Afterwards, you could view the changing designs for St Paul’s Cathedral, rebuilt in the aftermath of the fire by Sir Christopher Wren.
- Freecol – This is a strategy game based on the game Colonization where the objective is to create an independent nation. The game is a free download and is played offline.
- The Flames of the Rebellion – This downloaded feature is a strategy game that allows two players to play either as the British or the Colonials and play out the Revolutionary War for control of the thirteen colonies.
- Argument Wars – Players debate historical Supreme Court cases by advancing arguments and backing them up. Cases include, Brown v. Board of Education, New Jersey v. T.L.O., Texas v. Johnson, Miranda v. Arizona and Snyder v. Phelps.
- iCivics Online Games – iCivics offers online games in categories including, Citizenship, Constitution, Bill of Rights, Budgeting, Separation of Powers, Executive Branch, Legislative Branch and the Judicial Branch.iCivics provides a teacher help page as well.
- Do I Have a Right? – Explore the Bill of Rights in the context of operating and growing a Constitutional law firm from obscure to distinguished status.
- American Dynasties – This immersive digital video game enables players to live the lives of Americans from eras past.
Find more games and animation at Best of History Web Sites: Games
BBC offers many history games and animations at BBC Interactive Content
History Games can be integrated in any number of ways:
- Take a virtual tour of a country or historical place.
- Play a game as an introduction to a new unit to expose students to concepts, vocabulary and events.
- Learn about wars, battles, and military strategy.
- Simulate an historical event.
- Simulate decisions made by an historical character.