Gaming the Holidays: Games Chock Full of History

We’re getting deeper into the holiday season, as the days grow shorter and darker, and cheery tunes are playing nonstop on the local radio station. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or any other winter holiday, you’re probably anticipating Grandpa’s annual (and inevitable) “back in my day…” soliloquy.

Grandpa remembers a lot, some of it fondly, some of it not. He’s a great resource for historical knowledge (both his own history and far broader subjects). And just as we often feel that our personal interests aren’t shared by our family, Grandpa often finds that his speeches and lectures fall upon uninterested ears.

This year, you can enjoy a bit of history with Grandpa by sharing games with him. He’ll love seeing how your interests can mesh, and of course he’ll be glad to spend time with you! Here are our top suggestions for: Games Chock Full of History.


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The Battle of Verdun was the longest and largest battle of the First World War, and this multiplayer first-person shooter brings it to life like no other game before it.

With challenging trench-warfare and tactical gameplay, you and Grandpa can truly experience being soldiers on the Western Front, with historically accurate squads, uniforms, weapons, and maps. Grandpa can watch you play or even fight alongside you, as you battle across No-Man’s-Land in this immersive, gritty game.

Battle of the Bulge

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Set during the Second World War, this is a fast-paced tactical wargame that will challenge both your and Grandpa’s military and operational strategy. Carefully consider the terrain, abilities and needs of different types of military units, organize supply routes, and aptly manage your time—lest your AI opponent get the upper hand!

You and Grandpa will go up against historical commanders such as Bradley, von Rundstedt, or Dietrich and must tactically outwit each leader’s style. Or you can play local multiplayer and challenge Grandpa to a duel of strategy!


Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun

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A hardcore tactical stealth game set in Japan around the Edo period, Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun combines excellent storytelling with engaging mechanics and beautiful art. To help the new Shogun enforce peace over Japan and root out conspiracy and rebellion, you must play as five specialists, each with their own set of skills for assassination, sabotage, and espionage.

This historical fiction-based setting will give Grandpa a taste of antiquity, and the incredible tales of honor, family, duty, betrayal, and redemption will keep him invested in the game.


Iron Wings

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You play as two World War II pilots, Jack and Amelia, as they attempt to take down Nazi planes during their missions. This action-adventure air combat game feels much like an arcade shooter, where you switch between the two planes and use different types of weapons and tools to complete your objective.

Grandpa’s historical knowledge will come in handy, since each weapon at your disposal must be used strategically for different purposes during each campaign. He can help you hide from or destroy enemies, minimize damage, and complete your mission!


Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth

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Based on Ken Follett’s historical novel, Pillars of the Earth is set in England during the 12th century. In a time of poverty and war, a small town begins the construction of a cathedral to claim wealth and safety for its people. In their struggle to survive, lives and destinies intertwine.

Gorgeous 2D animation and excellent voice acting brings this epic story to life. As you explore, speak to dynamic characters, and make plot-changing decisions, Grandpa will enjoy having an active role in an evolving story.

Sniper Elite 4

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A third-person tactical shooter, Sniper Elite 4 is set in Italy in 1943 during World War II. You play as Fairburne, a British Special Operations Executive sniper who is sent to the island of San Celini to assassinate General Tobias Schmidt, who is rumored to be developing a new Nazi weapon. Explore large levels to set up the best possible longshot, in a campaign to help liberate wartime Italy from the grip of Fascism!

This realistic setting and story will pique Grandpa’s historical interest, and the stealth and strategy focused gameplay will challenge his wits.


This year, spend some time with Grandpa remembering the days of old and making a few of your own schemes.

Happy (gaming) holidays!

Suzanne Wallace
ID@Xbox Community Manager