Video games and history?

Absolutely.

For those of you who are interested in entering our Website category, Professor Shawn Graham of Carleton University has a great offer (many of you who attended National Capital History Day last year will remember Dr. Graham as he was one of our workshop leaders).

Want to create a video game for your NCHD website? Carleton Professor Shawn Graham can help you! Photo courtesy of Carleton University.

Want to create a video game for your NCHD website? Carleton Professor Shawn Graham can help you! Photo courtesy of Carleton University.

“A video game — and in particular, an interactive fiction — can be a powerful medium for writing good history,” says Dr. Graham.

In his HIST3812A class at Carleton, students learn how to write interactive fiction using the Twine platform.

“This platform loads up as a webpage, and so can be used not just for interactive storytelling, but also for interactive website building as well,” says Dr. Graham.

“A powerful example of what can be built is Beneath Floes,’ which tells an Inuit legend.”

'Beneath Floes' is a great example of interactive storytelling, Dr. Graham says.

‘Beneath Floes’ is a great example of interactive storytelling, Dr. Graham says.

But back to that great offer: Dr. Graham would be glad to come talk to any class interested in exploring this particular lively form of interactive history (to get started, you can also see a great how-to here).

And for more on how writing interactive fictions and games can lead to good historical thinking, see Dr. Graham’s most recent publication, Pulling Back the Curtain: Writing History Through Video Games.”

You can reach out to Dr. Graham for advice or to arrange a class visit here, and you can see his personal website here. And you can follow him on Twitter here.

And remember that all websites, no matter how they’re built or what sort of interactive elements they include, must still adhere to our rules. You can see how they are judged by downloading a judges’ evaluation form here. And for more specifics, and to make sure your website complies with the rules, download one of our rulebooks here.

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