A couple of weeks ago I met with Jonathan Ore of CBC News to discuss the new Battlefield 1 video game, set in the First World War. The end result was his piece about the historical value of the game, and a brief video. They are both here at CBCNews.ca.
Initially, we thought I would play the game for a little bit with Jonathan after being shown some of it. But I was interested in the different ways it can be played, asked lots of other questions about it, and there was plenty that could be said about the game as I watched Jonathan’s play on the screen. So I never did pick up a controller. That would have added nothing to story, since its been many years since I held a video game controller, but I wonder what else I would have learned by actually playing (or trying to).
Watching and learning about the game was engrossing enough. I came away thinking that it could be a valuable tool for exposing features of the past to the public (the one playing video games), encouraging further engagement with history. I can imagine using this version of Battlefield 1 as a teaching tool. The detailed images it offers, and the perspectives it takes, would be a good launching pad for discussing soldier experience, the war’s different theaters, and our memory of the war.
Nathan Smith, “Battlefield 1 in View,” 10 November 2016, HIS241.com, http://www.his241.com/?p=347