Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Guest Article: The Top 10 American History Games

Periodically, I like to post articles from guest bloggers, other blogs, or article directories. This particular article was submitted to me by a reader as a guest post. While some of its content steps outside of our typical focus (early US history), I thought it might be of interest to you all, especially those of you who like computer games, since James' article deals mainly with PC games. Personally, I've played about half the games James references, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. :-)


The Top 10 American History Games
by James Mowery

1) Oregon Trail is probably the game most people associate with American History, and many students probably played it in school. Originally released in 1971, the game continues to see some niche releases to help modern Americans continue the life of a 19th century pioneer.

2) Gold Rush! was another classic game that might bring back a lot of nostalgia for older players. While it may be kitschy by today’s standards, it had very accurate depictions of the transit problems early America faced.

3) 1602 AD is probably one of the best demonstrations of what colonial building in early America was like. It’s therefore ironic that Sunflowers, the company that developed the game, is actually based in Austria. By establishing different economic and social centers, a player needs to grow their colony into something truly awesome.

4) 1503 AD is the sequel to 1602 AD. Like it’s older brother, it was actually developed in Europe. Continuing to expand upon economics, some aspects of the game rather realistically model food production
and distribution in the earliest days of colonial America.

5) Rails Across America, by Flying Lab Software, is one of the greatest demonstrations of the business aspect of the railroads that built America. It focuses on the strategy of developing a railroad company as a whole.

6) Railroad Tycoon does for industry what Rails Across America did for business simulation. The game, and its sequels, goes in depth about what sets American railroading into a class of it’s own. To this end, it allows the unique aspect of comparing American operations to those of foreign countries.

7) The History Channel’s Civil War offering has an interesting duality about it. On one hand, the game is somewhat similar to a chess match fought between the Union and the Confederacy. However, when pieces
collide, a real time strategy combat session ensues.

8) American Conquest is a unique real time strategy game that allows a player to either play as a colonial power, or oppose them as a Native American nation. This dynamic adds to the interest and intrigue of the

9) Another one of the games that show just how different the incredible American spirit is, Chris Sawyer’s Locomotion allows a player to explore how exceptional our nation’s industries are.

10) Sid Meier’s Gettysburg!, as well as it’s Antietam themed successor, is interesting in the way that it allows alternate possibilities for the Civil War to be played out. There’s a fairly large player modification community built up around it that continues to develop add on modules for the game, as well.

--James Mowery is a computer geek that writes about technology and related topics. To read more blog posts by him, go to LedTV.

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