On 14 December 1973, in Copenhagen, the Heads of Government of the nine countries that then formed the European Community published a Declaration on European Identity. In it, the member states asserted that they were “determined to defend the principles of representative democracy, of the rule of law, of social justice — which is the ultimate goal of economic progress — and of respect for human rights. All of these are fundamental elements of the European Identity.”
It’s common for a work of popular media, like a period film, a documentary, or a book, to encourage us to rethink a particular historical figure or event. It is far less frequent for narratives of any kind to challenge our entire idea of what history is and how it works, and yet, with ever-growing success and popularity, this is exactly what a special genre of historical videogames have been doing.
Before I tackle the question of how games are changing our idea of history, of course, I need to establish what that ‘idea’ actually looks like. …