College Credit for Playing AoE4?

Uhh… what?

"A unique partnership among the University of Arizona, Microsoft’s World’s Edge studio and Relic Entertainment will allow current and future UArizona students to “make history their story” while they earn credit toward their college degrees.

Starting in early 2022, Age of Empires IV players will be able to interact with special educational content at; this content, which seeks to supplement the historical storytelling found in the Age of Empires IV campaign, was developed by two members of the University of Arizona Department of History – associate professor of medieval history Paul Milliman and department head Alison Futrell, an associate professor of Roman history. Based on admission status with the University of Arizona, engaging with this special content could allow players to earn one academic credit at the university. "

Holy ■■■■, that’s awesome for the American AoE fans!


That is pretty awesome. Integrating video games with education in an official capacity is interesting.

You seem aghast at the concept with your “Uhh… what?” – but–

they’ll find an onboarding portal, including required steps for receiving college credit, as well as accompanying modules called “Illuminated Histories,” written by Futrell and Milliman. This out-of-game content was designed to accompany the campaign mode, which offers individual players four story-based campaigns based on key moments of the medieval period: The Norman conquest of England, the Hundred Years War between England and France, the expansion of the Mongol Empire, and Moscow’s journey to emerge as a new superpower.

So it isn’t just playing games — there is an academic structure to it. I think its great.


This reminds me of trying to convince teachers to let us bring AOE1 and 2 to school because it was ‘educational’ XD


It was quite the shocker, not gonna lie. Hit me out of nowhere.

Nevertheless I think it’s great. It provides a great opportunity to many Americans and history enthusiasts.

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Not too surprising either when you consider Microsoft created an education version of Minecraft after they acquired the company; they clearly have a history of trying to integrate games and education.

That said, it’s also not a new concept.

When I was a kid we played Oregon Trail on Apple II’s. It wasn’t college level but the games also had significantly less to them back then.

There are quite a few talks and conferences focused on history in video games and mass-media.
Their goal is to pick these apart and show all the errors and falsehoods presented as historical facts. Given the target audience of this course (freshmen who are into videogames), this should be reasonably similar to those.

A sort of: “So you kids think you know all about history? Well, here’s how actual history works and why you’re wrong. Welcome to university.”

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I hope the entire course isn’t just playing AoE4. It should only be say, a 2-3 week segment.

If they want you playing the game for 4 months that is a waste of time.

I read up on it. Essentially, you play the 4 campaigns and are awarded an assessment. Once you take it (to prove you’re real), you can get college credit to Arizona University in America. It’s like eating a pancake and getting half off popcorn.

It’s pretty cool they put this together, lm looking forward to taking part. The admissions paperwork is $65, but since the course is free that’s a pretty cheap credit hour these days.

Depending on their scoring system my AOE series playtime should instantly grant me 1-2 Masters degrees… where do I sign up? : P

I was looking forward to participating in the program but it appears the original article on the program on the official Age of Empires website may have omitted some critical information. I enrolled in UArizona and have been in touch with the student councilors and have recently received an update on the program quoted below:

Sorry for the delay, but the university has been working through how we will go about awarding credit and I know Microsoft has been working on their side as well.

Next week (right now it is set for Tuesday) the University of Arizona and Microsoft will be launching the Illuminated Histories program. In order to begin the process to receive credit, students will need to complete the campaign portion of the Age of Empires IV game. After completion, players will be able to opt-in to an assessment (think of this as an in-depth test on knowledge gained from playing the game) where if they successfully complete it, they would be eligible to receive one college credit. In order to receive this credit, players must end up enrolling in at least one course at the University of Arizona. However, we offer a course that is meant to be inclusive of the game. Here is the course name and description:

HIST 297B: Playing and Making History with Age of Empires IV

*This course builds upon the skills you learned in HIST 297A, The University of Arizona Online Enhanced Experience for Age of Empires IV, and demonstrates how you can transfer these skills to succeeding in your college career. This is an active learning course designed to be a bit like a research and writing boot camp for historians. You will learn how to: use a variety of databases and other library materials to study history; summarize and critique scholars’ arguments; and do original research and share it with classmates through fun and engaging research projects based on playing and making history. You will be doing just as much research as in a traditional history course. But, instead of presenting your research in papers, you will present your research through experiential learning activities like cooking medieval recipes, creating medieval objects, and making your own games. You are not just going to be consuming history. You are going to be producing it! Let’s make history together!

I asked if there would be any fees that I was not aware of and received this response:

Yes, there will be a cost to enroll for the course. The cost would be $1,500 for the course and then around $100 in fees (this is mostly a library fee as many resources are used within the library). As well, I believe that the professor will require some books and therefore that could be an added cost as well.

So, it appears the program is not actually free to earn the 1 college credit unless you take at least one other course at the university. The article made this seem too good to be true and now has proved itself to be.