10 Video Games That Taught Us Forgotten History
Don't ever think they're a waste of time.
While it is not uncommon for video games to take inspiration from history, it is rare for their version of events to be considered educational.
For example, Nioh's protagonist William Peel was a real man, and one of the first Westerners to travel to Japan. Unfortunately – of fortunately, depending on your point of view – the demons, giant spiders and guardian spirits are the work of fiction.
Other games, like L.A. Noire and Assassin's Creed 3 or Black Flag, while taking certain liberties, have done a lot to introduce a generation of gamers to true historical events and people – though they are just as likely to have learned about the Cold War, the American War of Independence and pirates in school, books or on television. So common are these events referenced.
There are cases, however, where but for some of us, video games have given us a glimpse of real-life history that we would otherwise never have discovered – or not for some time more, at least.
These are topics rarely taught in schools – at least in those in Western Europe and the Americas – but, after discovering in a video game, we would likely follow up with a trip down the Wikipedia rabbit hole.
10. Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse (The Albigensian Crusade)
Taking inspiration from Indiana Jones, the Broken Sword series has a tendency for the reality-based detective stories of George Stobbart and Nico Collard to turn supernatural before the finale. The duo have faced off against world domineering Neo-Templars, an Aztec god, a dragon, and Death. In the latest entry, George and Nico come to aid of God himself.
In Broken Age 5, the antagonist, Langham, is attempting to destroy Jehovah, the god of order, who is one of a pair of gods in a dualist sect of Christianity known as Gnosticism.
In this sect, Lucifer isn't a devil, but the god of creativity and knowledge.
As absurd as the final showdown might be, the game reveals a forgotten chapter in history of the genocide of The Cathars – the followers of Christian Gnosticism. The Cathars believed the physical world to be evil, and so gave civil authority no credence. This was dangerous, as it meant they were not afraid to publicly criticise the Catholic Church.
So, as medieval Pope's were wanton to do, Pope Innocent III branded the dualist religion one of devil worship and called for a crusade into Southern France in 1209.
It is estimated that somewhere between 200,000 and 1,000,000 people were killed in the crusade, and is thought to be one of the earliest examples of ideological genocide. Many of us wouldn't have even heard of it though, if not for Broken Sword.