History is a major part of who we are both as humans and in overall culture. From it, we can learn from the mistakes of other people to avoid doing the same in present times and we learn about how society came to be. Despite saying all of this, I never have been really interested in history as a whole… at least not history class. My mother herself was a history teacher (as well as an English and Spanish teacher); however, I never really had the same passion for it. Lately, I have been playing a lot of historical fiction games. I have noticed that I have been able to learn a lot more with video games, anime and TV shows than in history class altogether! Of course, since it is all fictional, there are certain things that needed to be changed, but I always loved to do research on the side. That being said, here are a few of the historical events/topics that I learned within games.
The Shisengumi—Hakuoki Series
I should really thank Shoujo Thoughts for introducing me to this series. I played the games non-stop as soon as I started playing one of them—especially throughout the Summer (I played hours upon hours of it… as many of my friends on Steam have seen). The game itself takes place in the mid-late Edo/ Early Meiji period.
“The shonungate employed a group of ronin, the shinsengumi, to help police Kyoto. In their distinctive blue-and-white uniforms, these young swordsmen developed a reputation for ferocity as they eliminated the shogun’s opponents. The shinsengumi were among the last forces to stand with the shogunate.” (From: Google Books).
This game not only gives dates and descriptions as to what happened in history, but it also provides an incredibly detailed glossary about places, objects, and people for those who might not know about them. Of course, the only thing that isn’t true is the fact that it is filled with demons and such, but everything about this series is absolutely beautiful to say the least. I learned a lot from this series. I hope you guys get the chance to check this one out!
Prejudice and Victorian Era/ Meiji Period Life—Great Ace Attorney Chronicles
Now, I did need to include Ace Attorney in one way or another within a post and this is no exception. Last year, during the lockdown, I watched the playthrough of the Japanese version with the English subtitles (before the English version was released this year). Now, since it is finally released, I am playing the games—despite knowing what happens. I wasn’t expecting to have anger grow whilst playing because of the prejudice/racist comments within the game; however, since it does take place in the 1800’s, it is understandable (not acceptable). Of course, a lot of things within the games are fictional, but there are many real-world topics and overall lifestyles that do hold some truth. Namely how life in Great Britain in the Victorian Era and Japan in the Meiji Period was like. I’m not exactly sure about how justice was like in those periods; however, I did find that there was the British Court for Japan in Kyoto within the 1800’s.
The US Prohibition/ Speakeasies—Two Against the World, The Blind Griffin, Your Dry Delight
I have previously spoken about these games in other reviews. Each of these games let you be able to find romance within the 1920’s in different parts of the U.S. (New York, California, and Cleveland). Despite the differences in plot and characters, there’s one thing these three games have in common: The Prohibition and Speakeasies.
The Prohibition: “The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution–which banned the manufacture, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors–ushered in a period in American history known as Prohibition. Prohibition was ratified by the states on January 16, 1919 and officially went into effect on January 17, 1920, with the passage of the Volstead Act.” (from: History).
Speakeasies: “When Prohibition took effect on January 17, 1920, many thousands of formerly legal saloons across the country catering only to men closed down. People wanting to drink had to buy liquor from licensed druggists for “medicinal” purposes, clergymen for “religious” reasons or illegal sellers known as bootleggers. Another option was to enter private, unlicensed barrooms, nicknamed “speakeasies” for how low you had to speak the “password” to gain entry so as to not be overheard by law enforcement.” (from: Prohibition: An Interactive History).
Your Dry Delight and The Blind Griffin both provide a glossary for certain terms and phrases that we most probably don’t know; however, Two Against The World also explains everything with so much ease. They each make sure that the audience is able to understand everything that’s going on.
That’s it for today. I really hope you enjoyed reading this. Let me know if there are any historical fiction games that actually taught you something about history. I’d love to hear it! Until next time, keep your paws and bowls of ramen up, everyone! Nya! 🐾