Video games are so much more than just entertainment. They’re worlds that we can fully immerse ourselves in, stories that change our perspectives, and works of art that can have a profound impact on the consumer. One thing that people often don’t associate with video games is educational value, with much of the mainstream media dismissing them as frivolous and even harmful distractions.

Dedicated gamers know that this couldn’t be further from the truth and that many video games these days are created with the help of armies of academics, researchers, and experts in a variety of fields. Many historically-themed games aren’t thought of as accurate and for good reason.

However, there are a few out there which are so detailed, rich, and well-researched that playing them can teach you more than any history book ever would. Here are the top four Xbox games that all history buffs should be playing right now. 

1. Civilization 

Yes, the iconic strategy game Civilization crosses frequently into the fictional and the fantastical, but there’s also reams of fascinating historical source material to enjoy. Whether you’re planning fights against real-life empires and warlords or dealing with the same strategic challenges faced by the commanders of Sparta, Verdun, Assyria, or Troy, there’s a lot to learn from this series. The fact that it was recently released for Xbox One by Microsoft means that more people than ever can learn about the unchanging historical truths of war and conquest. 

2. Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption was an instant classic upon its release, owing to the incredibly rich and detailed open world of the American West during the dying days of the pioneer era. The plot may be fiction, but the characters, situations, societal norms, and the challenges you encounter are very real. Even sitting down and playing a game of poker, one of the oldest forms of entertainment which continues to live on in the form of live online casinos offering Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha High, and Seven Card Stud to this day, feels like a lesson in history. There’s plenty to learn from RD. 

3. The Entire Assassin’s Creed Series 

When you think of historical games, Assassin’s Creed is probably the first thing that comes to mind. The series has received praise from all quarters for its emphasis on historical accuracy, whether it’s in the world of Rennaissance Florence, Victorian London, Ancient Alexandria, or Ottoman Istanbul. The game is produced with the help of academics from the best universities in the world, meaning that you’re gaining access to expertise on some of the most fascinating eras of human history. 

4. Call of Duty: WWII

First person shooters rarely rank highly when it comes to historical accuracy. One title that definitely bucks the trend is the acclaimed Call of Duty WWII, which recreates real battles and rivalries from the most destructive conflict in human history with surprising accuracy. Whether you’re participating in the Normandy Landings or infiltrating occupied Paris, you can rest assured that such important chapters of history were reconstructed with the help of survivor’s accounts and months of research. 

Games rarely promise to be a 100% accurate history lesson, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot to be learned. More importantly, these games have the power to inspire an interest in our history that has convinced many gamers to go and do their own research.