For the Record: Of Russia’s Youth Learning History Thru Games
Thanks to Roland for this one. Hello everyone, four days ago, an interesting article came out on “Russia beyond the headlines” site, called “Russia’s young generation learning military history through video games“. I will quote from it, as I find it very interesting. Young Russians are learning about the history of their country with the help of war-themed video games. This type of video game not only helps children’s education but is also hugely popular among adults, generating a hefty revenue for developers, who stress that while their products feature a patriotic element, they strive not to take sides. This is nothing new, it’s something many, including Wargaming, talked about long time ago. But check this out. For a child, an online game is one of the most effective ways of studying the history of one’s country. Practically any game that is to do with history inherently performs an educational function, says Anton Pankov, PR director for Russia at the Belarusian company Wargaming, responsible for developing the World of Tanks video game, which is popular in Russia and elsewhere in the world. ……. These days, they can get this information from games. “We give players unique information about military hardware that was used in real battles. Through the game, our players get to know that military hardware and through our website, social networks, and video channels they learn various interesting facts,” says Anton Pankov. He admits that there is an educational and patriotic element to the company’s gaming products and its offline initiatives, but adds that in its projects the company tries not to take sides in well-known historical conflicts (like the Second World War). Right. This is probably a good time for me to go on a rant. We all know the totally unbiased articles like the one with “Voroshilov the strategic mastermind” or the “opportunistic Finns“. It’s absolutely clear that Wargaming actually IS biased from historical point of view – no problem, but why do they claim otherwise? I think that the last part of the article, quoted above below the dots, is the core of the real problem. Evilly (ingame nickname of Anton Pankov) is right, people do “learn” from the game. The problem is, they really get the wrong idea about the tank behavior and history itself, because not only do the tanks in the game NOT behave like real tanks (I think everyone who ever saw even a video of a tank understands that), but the game is loaded with unhistorical fake elements (most tanks have SOME sort of fake element, guns, turrets, some are completely fake like the infamous WT E-100) and that’s a problem right there – based on the game, some people start believing this crap is actually real. Wargaming of course does nothing active to discourage them from thinking so – who would want to openly admit that they have complete fabrications in the game (even though everyone knows). Typical example is the GW E-100′s description: Development of this heavy SPG on the E-100 chassis started at the end of 1943, but it was never completed. No prototypes were ever manufactured and the vehicle did not undergo any trials. Nope, there was never such a vehicle even proposed. It’s a complete fake. And yet, we read in the description that the development of a SPG started in 1943? I wonder, how many people actually believe this vehicle was real now… I wouldn’t be surprised if the number was quite high. Oh well.