It’s Hard to Play in the Trenches: World War I in Videogames

World War I (WWI) has a relatively unusual presence in popular memory and historical videogames have rapidly become one of the most successful forms of popular history. Despite this, there is very little research that examines the representation of WWI in videogames. This article provides an overview of WWI games, organising them by genre and determining their engagement with WWI popular memory. Secondly, the article explains the issues that face videogames in trying to engage this memory, particularly given its relatively controversial and contested nature. Thirdly, using frame analysis, the article suggests a number of reframings which videogames that engage with WWI popular memory seem to use to negotiate these issues. Accordingly, the analysis reveals the nature of depictions of WWI that players are exposed too in this new popular form. Furthermore, in doing so, the current limitations and possibilities of videogames as a historical form are further explored.

By: Adam Chapman