History is written by the winners.
That’s what George Orwell wrote in his “As I please” articles, which has often been used since to highlight the inaccuracies of historical accounts (see anything from the US about World War II and Indigenous historical accounts by the British).
But in today’s technological society filled with twitter likes and Instagram hearts (the historical accounts of the future), History has alot of trouble even being kept alive let alone debating the inaccuracies.
Inaccuracies fuelled in part by dramatic and often graphic war movies, documentaries and radio shows, brought out once a year every ANZAC day to entertain us, more than it is to inform us.
When a CSGO tournament was due to be held a few weeks after ANZAC at an RSL club it was ridiculed for its ‘insensitivity’ to the fallen soldiers.
An odd reaction to a form of entertainment, as if they were having a movie screening I’m sure the outrage would not have been met with such intense passionate claims of distaste.
Because the reality is, wargaming is what keeps history alive and relevant in the minds of the young.
Its entertainment value is no different from that of previous generations movies, movies that intertwined with love stories.
In fact, movies and programs are a lightweight romanticised vision of war… war games are not.
Thier brutal executions and illustrations of terror are not as lost on the youth who seem to have more of an aversion to War and the need to stop it than their movie-going parents.
So this week when War of Gaming’s World of Tanks announced they were launching the Aussie Centurion tank, I was intrigued.
What the fuck is an Aussie Centurion?
Well for the uninitiated like me the Centurion was actually a British tank designed for the second world war but were produced too late with tanks only arriving once the War had ended.
Its first sight of combat was the Korean war in the 1950’s, before ultimately becoming the Royal Australian Army’s tank of choice in Vietnam.
It is the most widely used tank design in the world and considered to be one of the most successful tank designs in post-war history.
It’s also what kind of makes it extremely scary.
“We’re not just dedicated to great gameplay, but delivering local, historically relevant content. Our player base in Australia and NZ continues to grow, especially following the launch of the local server and most recently World of Tanks 1.0. The Australian Centurion is another example of our commitment to our Aussie players,” said Alexander De Giorgio, World of Tanks Regional Publishing Director.
And while most people wouldn’t see this game as an example of educational gameplay that is commonly used to push the gaming in education agenda, its oversight also shows the lack of critical thinking often desired in today’s world.
Infact the Rethinking History, The Journal of Theory and Practice Volume 19 2015 – Issue 2 the very idea of a game that presents historical scholarship rather than a linear narrative would be a very positive and powerful tool to engage and educate.
The article examined the impact of this “Although computer and video games may seem to be far removed from the historical narrative, both examine and form points of view about how cultures, economies, polities, and societies function. Ignoring the realities of budget and hiring a game design team, this article will imagine how historical research could be presented as a scholarly game.”
And while World of Tanks may not have the Historical scholarship expected from a scholarly game, it contains a lot of the skills and narrative to begin and have an extreme impact on educating players as well as entertaining them by letting them blow shit up.
So to all those naysayers who defend the right to be offended by having a historical game deemed insensitive to soldiers yet will screen Hurt Locker as an appropriate and Hollywood accurate depiction of the worlds most recent war in Iraq I say “Fuck off”.
And for all those wargaming players who play World of Tanks, you can now have a bit of fun cause one of the best Tanks in the world’s history, is now available for your clan to go use and destroy another clan…or whatever it is you do on the game.
Charis McAwesome, co-founder and manager of hashtagme.co.nz – Charis has worked in digital for over 10yrs specialising in digital management, analytics, digital advertising, social media, digital pathways, and CRM services.
She’s also most likely to call bullshit and get Hashtag in the shit.