I once used Age of Empires 2 as a way to represent the feudal societies and their organization. I also took a looooong time reading the “history” pages, and took notes based on that for discussion in class.
I was a 10-13 yo boi, tho - problably the only one who ever did that lol.
A lot of games, if used correctly, can help understand the past. Total War games can show how battles took place, aoe1 gives an abstract representation of the classical ages, aoe2 showcases the medieval times, and aoe3 colonial imperialism.
But AoM is the best for learning, in my opinion. EVERYTHING has a description in there. Also the gods and mythologic creatures are loyal to the legends, in both usage and visual models.
I find it interesting how you shared about using aoe1 to teach. Would you care to talk more about that, and how your students reacted? I would love to know how it went.
The lesson worked great. If I could figure out a way to get any of the games on a large group of computers without me paying a lot of money or breaking the law I would do it again. It would be great to show the concept of opportunity cost.
Do you harvest berries or go for the deer. What is your best choice and what are you giving up to harvest the other choice?
My students understood hunting and gathering cultures much better after playing that demo.
I’m not a teacher, but Age of Empires I and III taught me to harvest for berries first because they’re a stagnant food source not requiring expenditure of energy to accrue. In a literal sense, one would give up protein; however, within the context of the game most efficiency begins by tasking villagers upon the berry bushes.