Macquarie University
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"In war... not everyone is a soldier": using games to teach an empathetic version of history

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posted on 2022-03-28, 15:32 authored by Abbie Hartman
This thesis argues that video games present players with an empathetic perspective of history, particularly when considering experience of war. By examining current ideas of public history and extending these to include the medium of video games, I have been able to show how video games can be used to educate the public in non-academic settings in much the same way historical film is used. I have drawn academic scholarship from a number of disciplines and have married this together with two case studies in order to support my hypothesis. Ubisoft Montpellier's Valiant Hearts: The Great War (2014) and 11bit Studios' This War of Mine (2014) can both be seen as games which aim specifically to educate their players about wartime experiences and the reality of war. Valiant Hearts: The Great War explores how the Great War (1914-1918) affected a variety of historical figures across gender and nationality, and demonstrates the hardships of the conflict through an individualised and emotive experience. With simple gameplay and cartoon-style graphics Valiant Hearts: The Great War reaches a large variety of audiences. In contrast, This War of Mine is a dark, gritty and uncompromising depiction of life in a war-torn city, based on experiences during the Siege of Sarajevo. This War of Mine has been developed to force players to question what it would be like if a civil war began in their country -- abstract.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter 1: On gaming, learning and history -- Chapter 2: Valiant Hearts: The Great War -- Chapter 3: This War Of Mine -- Conclusion -- Appendix: Survey and interview information -- Bibliography.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 47-55

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Department, Centre or School

Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Sean Brawley


Copyright Abbie Hartman 2017. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (iv, 55 pages) illustrations

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