At Play the Past, we’ve had a long-standing interest in the intersection of history, games and education.
Many of our current and legacy contributor hail from the world of education, and you can read them on as varied topics as video games and educational theory, gamification vs. game-based learning, educational design and class-room pedagogy.
In the last decade, we’ve seen a slow but steady rise in classroom experiments with game-based learning – Play the Past contributors who are teachers have often reported on their own game-based learning trials and tribulations. Concurrently, a new field of academic research began to emerge, around the time of this blog’s founding in 2010, to reckon with the rich production of historical discourse that video and table-top games now offer. This field now goes under the name of “Historical Game Studies”.
Beyond isolated applications of game-based learning, we are now reaching a moment in time in which the fruits of this experimentation and research are beginning to show in official educational programs at our post-secondary institutions.
As editor of Play the Past, I participate in a number of communities dedicated to theoretical and applied research around historical game studies. This September, a member of the Facebook Group Historical Game Studies Network, PhD researcher Julien Bazile announced a new undergraduate history course being offered at the University of Sherbrooke, in Quebec, Canada, teaching both the history of video games and representations of history in video games. I messaged Julien to see if he and his course lead, Thierry Robert, would be interested in doing an interview.
Both Thierry and Julien generously accepted my offer. And so we are happy to report that the next three posts will present to you, dear Play the Past readers, the content of these interviews.
Part one, below, is the interview conducted with Thierry Robert, the main instructor and curriculum designer of HST 287 “History, video games and gamification”. The following two interviews will feature Julien Bazile, who is a PhD student at the University of Sherbrooke, and co-lecturer for the HST 287 course. We hope our readers will find the discussion as eye-opening and stimulating as we found it.