Some games with historical value… of sorts

So, following on from that last post, an IF with historical depth (and on this american election day, connection to Mr. Obama’s home town) based on the 1893 Chicago’s world fair:

1893: A World’s Fair Mystery

A theft on the fairgrounds! Precious diamonds stolen from the Kimberly Diamond Mining Exhibit! An urgent telegram from your old partner arrives, requesting your help to solve the mystery. How can you refuse? And besides, you’ve been dying to see the wonder of the age everyone has been talking about, this Columbian Exposition. And so, dossier in hand, you take the next train to Chicago.

But this is no simple theft. And as theft turns to kidnapping, and kidnapping to murder, you find yourself at the center of a plot the extent of which you can only begin to imagine…

1893: A WORLD’S FAIR MYSTERY is an interactive adventure into Chicago history. It uses a text interface and still photos to bring the fair “vividly to life,” and “proves convincingly that the best games aren’t about razzle-dazzle special effects or cheap gimmickry. They’re about story, character, and especially here, location, location, location” (The Associated Press). “Excellent,” says the Chicago Sun-Times, and Game Chronicles Magazine calls 1893 a “breath of fresh air.” Nominated for Best Game of the year and winner of Best Setting at the 7th Annual XYZZY Awards.

Here are just some of the 1893: A World’s Fair Mystery game features:

  • Hundreds of locations on the fairgrounds to explore, as if you were really there
  • Over 500 archival photographs illustrate the places you go and the people you meet
  • Dozens of interactive characters to encounter
  • Carefully researched and historically accurate
  • Non-linear gameplay — you control where you want to go and when
  • Challenging and unique puzzles
  • In-game hint system
  • Over thirty hours of gameplay

And, going back a bit further in time

Hundred Years War

Pure-Text Game for Serious History Geeks

Hundred Years’ War is a game involving dozens of players, played out over a period of months, in which each player represents a nobleman of France, England, or one of the surrounding countries–except for the four who represent the Kings of England and France, the Black Prince, and the Dauphin, and to whom most of the rest of the players report. There are two complementary sides to the game–the economic game, which you can play with occasional updates to your fiefs’ orders every few days, passing on money and troops to your liege; and the military game, which is played out in realtime, with players on one side messaging each other to coordinate the movement of armies across France and England.

There’s nothing like this anywhere. BUT. This is basically a pure-text game, and one that requires a serious commitment to play.

And finally, a caveman game with no historical/archaeological value at all, but which might in fact be quite a lot of fun:

It’s tempting to write a review of Og using the only words available to characters in this game of caveman chaos, but the simple lexicon of 18 words would probably hamper communication more then it would help. In fact, that’s the point. The characters of Og are stupid cavemen, and the words available to the player is one of the driving factors in the game. Words lead to most of the humor of the game, as well as being one of the best rewards a player can get.

Og is a game that reaches off the page and says not only how characters can act, but how players interact. Sitting at a table with a limited selection of words is not just a recipe for comedic disaster, but also a mental exercise. Most games have rules for physical actions, and even for social influence, but Og places some rather amusing and occasionally thought-provoking rules on every utterance that leaves a player’s mouth. [complete article]

The reviews come from the Play This Thing! game review site, whose slogan is, ‘Everything cool in games, out of the mainstream’.  Well worth a visit.