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.

44 thoughts on “Of Russia’s Youth Learning History Thru Games

  1. 75% of the vehicles in this game NEVER existed beyond a blueprint, drawing, prototype or testing phase. None were ever “Production Vehicles with any “Historical value”

    The Breakdown shakes out to be in the neighborhood of:

    10% never existed and were only dreamt up by the minds of the developers for this game.
    25% Only existed as a Drawing or Blueprint stage never implemented.
    25% Made it through to a Prototype Mock up stage. Maybe a hull was built or other components.
    15% made it through to testing with 1 maybe 2 vehicles built, but either they failed in development, development was halted, or it was phased out.

    That leaves 25% of the vehicles in this game having again historical relevance what so ever.

    Put on top of that wargaming says what it says to suit itself. It’s “historical based” if they feel the need to NERF hammer the crap out of something or buff something. Other than that the “consolidated wargaming union line” has always been this is just a video game with very little historical value. Now this?????

    The “Balancing” in this game for guns is Horrible. 88 mm, 75/70 guns had a lot greater penetration than gun from other countries THAT WAS A FACT from longer distances as well. Better optics, better guns. Mechanically prone to more breakdowns especially later in the war. However in this game “Balanced” away.

    The fact that you can repair a tank that got it’s track shot off on the fly is laughable at best. Especially other component damage.
    A crew member that is dead on the field of battle IS DEAD not injured and miraculously brought back to health by a med kit. or after a game with a little less XP than the crew members who survived.

    Tanks that disappear as though a mirage in complete visual range. Tanks rolling across open flat land towards an enemy that just appear. No thought at all to the directional noise of approaching vehicles or THE DUST / DIRT CLOUDS they cause.

    • Well, this game is arcade, and its very good arcade. You can criticize what you want, but fully realistic game isnt fun for 99% of players. And to be honest, best realistic game is real life.. so.

      Balancing is very good, sure it has its downsides (looking at Deathstar or WTF), but as a whole, the game is actually pretty good without some gamebreaking issues.

      • I wouldn’t call reality “the best realistic game”. It lacks critical comfort features, like savegames and tutorials and has way too many unrecoverable failure states for a game where you only get one chance to play through.

        • +20 for use of the expression, “unrecoverable failure states”. :D

          The ability to quickly fix tracks has frustrated me since day one.
          Just as much as how easy they are to hit.
          At long ranges in the field, tracks are usually out of view due to GRASS, or half sunk in mud, or obscured by DUST. Gunners tended to aim for the center-mass of the enemy tank.
          NO. WWII tank gunners never aimed for someone’s machine-gun port. Just no.
          It close city situations, it was still rare to shoot for tracks because
          a) it won’t stop the enemy gun, and
          b) gun-sight parallax at close range makes targeting a sprocket very iffy (Bible, while shooting for the ass of a tiger at close range should actually hit more to the LEFT rear of the enemy tank, not the right. Then again, I still liked the movie)
          They could fix the tracking problem by fixing JUST ONE THING. Make it so that when we see a tank, we can only see a red outline of just the part that is exposed. People will stop shooting dirt when a tank crests hills, and tanks in the grass of Prokhorovka won’t even have their tracks aimed for in the first place.

    • Wow, this guy needs to lie down.

      I believe SS and “this guy” are both ranting about something neither one of them understands.

      To quote: “based on the game, some people start believing this crap is actually real.“ Really? Some people believe aliens exist, please tell me how you plan to combat that. Or some people believe that God is real? What? Too touchy?

      Reality is that it`s irrelevant what people believe. People believe all kinds of bullshit, and it has all kinds of impacts but there is NOTHING you can do about what OTHER people believe in.

      It seems kinda stupid to repeat it non-stop, I feel like Storm when he says “no +1 mm“, but here we are: This is a game, not a historical simulator. People like SS that have hard on for historical accuracy will never stop hating it, some people will believe that Tiger 1 really did 300 damage to other tanks in real life, and all other bullshit.

      But it has no relevance to anything. More so, in reality, those kids don`t take everything they see for granted, unlike some people posting here, most kids aren`t idiots and can distinguish game from reality. What likely happens is that they learn about the tank and think Hey where can I learn more about this time, and they go read a book, or watch tv… which will still give them a completely jaded and sanitized look at what really World War 2 was like.

      Some high and mighty historian telling people what to think… yeah, never seen that before.

      • You completely missed the point. To be expected from someone who thinks wot is a good game. Let me explain:

        - The point isn’t that WOT is full of stuff that never existed.
        - The point is that WG is lying about it and saying that it did exist.
        - Which is even worse when you consider the article saying that russian kids are learning history from WOT, an entirely fake representation of tanks and tank combat in world war 2.

        Meaning in 5-10 years you’ll actually get idiot russians claiming that arty in ww2 had an eagle eye view of the battlefield.

    • “However in this game balanced away”.
      Oh the horrors of making the game playable!! I think this is the first time I heard someone bitch about game balancing. What people fail to understand is that making the game “historical” would be something like this: 4 Tigers fighting 20 t-34′s while being permanently immobile because of mechanic breakdowns and constantly missing shots because your panzer crew is a forcebly recruited gardener with no training. This doesnt sound fun to me. Keep your historical accuracy to yourself.

  2. I haven’t quite figured out how WG got their hands on DPM stats for tank guns. I thought that was classified.

    • (√(caliber/barrel lenght) + RoF) : (1/(n vodka bottles x Stalins shoe size) = DPM

      *sigh … didnt they teach that in your school?

  3. Some historical facts and tank performance figures will always be a muddy topic because each side has their point of view. I’m happy that kids can at least learn that there was something called WW2 between ’39-’45 and that there were tanks called Tiger, Sherman, Churchill, T-34 fighting in it.

    • Nuh-unh! Rusky kids learn that WW2 existed only between ’41-’45, muh holy patriotsky liberation war!

  4. This has become quite a problem in local (ASIA and PH) forums – people keep asking stuff like “Why did Germany lose? They had the E-100 to pwnzor allied tanks! Ooh oooh ooh! Maus imba – allies weak. T-34 and M4 are crap!” We also get stuff like “Why is my Tiger dying to M4s? Everyone knows M4 suck balls! ZOMG why is my Tiger II fighting T-54s? Russian Bias!” Ugh

  5. Wait what? You wanna say I did it wrong when I did study history from Wolfestein3D,back in days? :(

  6. well its like the ROME TotalWar Series, their first game was TotalInaccurate f.e. Rome fighting Pharaos xD but the truth is that forced kids to get into history and make their owm search.

    so when the kid plays the IS3 or the Tiger II and be impressed will get into the trip to search. It will be disaster the game to learn the youths. Games offers the spirit for the youth to search and get involved with learning .

  7. And here I am studying history from the Civ series. I mean, is it true? Gandhi was a pacifist IRL, not one of the Axis members with a highly developed nuclear program?

    But seriously, history from World of Tanks? What utter bullshit, and I am disappointed that Wargaming actively encourages this. I haven’t been bothered with reading the “history” posts after I found an interesting article about Gurkhas, because I thought “eh ok, Wargaming knows their shit, but acknowledge that their game is not supposed to be realistic”.

  8. SS,
    I think you’re not being fair here. WG, from what I read, never claimed
    that they didn’t take sides, they only said that they TRIED. There is a
    big difference between the two. For example, I as a Croat TRY to be
    tolerant about Serbs. Sometimes I succeed, other times I fail. I think
    you shouldn’t see things in such a black&white manner(either you
    take sides or you don’t). On the subject of kids learning history
    through games, I think in most cases kids will see something in a game
    and then get interested in the subject, rather than outright learning
    through games. And I dont see why anyone seems to be upset about this.
    It’s not like someone said it only applies to WoT. There are some games
    which do a great job in teaching history, for example games from Paradox

    • About your statement with Croats vs Serbs,I think it is similar in Ukraine too.We don’t hate Russians,but if you stroll down the streets of Kiev with a burning Ukrainian flag you might get beaten.

      • Exacly. The same goes for WG. They don’t hate anyone for no reason. But they might have lost close family in WW2. You dont just get past that all that easy.

  9. I LOL’ed multiple times as I read through the article.

    Russian’s learning? WTF? How do those Putinist ass-lickers learn a crap when practically every official shit of them is infested with “OH GLORIOUS RUSSIA” shit? Personally speaking, I wouldn’t teach a Russian a crap.

    • Personally speaking, you couldn`t “teach a Russian a crap“ (or English, for that matter) because

      a) Most Russians had better education than you (google it)
      b) Most Russians are smarter than you
      c) Most Russians know more.

      Wait wait… I was wrong… I want to know how does it feel when hillbilly like you fucks his sister?

      • Most Russians also get all their information from Russian sources,due to language barriers and such.Therefore,the government can easily manipulate public opinion due to the complete control they have over the flow of information.

        • Well it’s not much better than the situation in places where English is spoken. For example, how many people do you think know about USA bombing civilians in muslim countries with drones? On TV I only saw one documentary about it. Western powers are very good in hiding their actions that border(and often cross that border) with terrorism. People shit about manipulation in Russia while being manipulated themselves.

  10. I got a real interest in learning the world’s geography because I used to play RISK and Axis & Allies a lot. They’re really onto something here. n.n

  11. History itself is only told/recorded by those who are biased.
    For actual events of history in the past, we can rely on video footage or photograph; but for background stories, there are no factual account of what exist or what happened, only biased stories told by those who witnessed and told in their opinion of what happened.

    • Eaven that is risky. You see, there are more pictures witch are staged or edited then you might think. And it eaven involves the most famous ones. A few out of the top of my head:

      Russian soldier rising flag on reichsdag (edited the watches on his arm as that meant robbing the death, and i think i heared it was staged as well.)
      american gi’s rising flag on some island in the pacific in 45(staged, picture shows the second bigger flag)
      Spanish civil war picture by robert capa the falling soldier (said to be staged)
      The” spontaneous” kiss between a sailor and a girl in new york at armistice ( it was posed)

      Get my point?