You are probably not going to believe this.
I hesitate to share this as it either sounds untrue or may imply that our homeschool history studies are lacking, but here goes.
My children have actually learned historical information from playing the xBox360 game called "Civilization Revolution". This game started as a PC based game before it converted to video game console platforms. It exists in formats for other video game consoles too (not just available for the xBox360 platform).
The facts my kids hear in playing this game seem to go instantly into their long term memory. I know this because one night while at a restaurant my eleven year old asked about a government type that I'd never heard of (something not yet covered in our homeschool history progam). Luckily my husband knew about it and they had a discussion.
Another time with his Boy Scout Troop my son watched the movie Night at the Museum and he was telling my husband who all the historical people were and all about them with things he learned only from the game. The first time he saw the movie it was more for just entertainment and apparently some of the historical infomation went over his head back then.
On other days when we're doing our homeschool history lessons my boys, then aged 8 and 11, would chime in with accurate information from the game that the lesson had not yet covered.
My kids have shown they can connect the dots from the video game's facts to what they learn from books in lessons and then what they see out in the world. Is that not the goal of an education?
Even kids who could care less about history would like this game. It may also be one that girls would like. (I hate to be sterotypical but
I have not played the game and find it hard to watch. It is a one player game. They start off by choosing a country to represent and it is ancient times. As the game goes on the country develops and time goes forward. Countries battle each other and power shifts. There has to be a balance between offense and defensive action to stay alive (and not taken over).
The game also rewards balanced development across areas of culture, technology and power, should one become more advanced than another the player is punished by being sent back in time to re-do it. For example if a country does not do enough cultural things they are declared to have become barbarians and are sent back in time to re-create themselves. The worse the situation is, the farther back in time you are sent.
My husband says he is a bit at odds with the goal of the game as it tends to reward a one world government ideal for the future years...
My kids love the game and it is a nice change from the first person shooter type games--this is not a first person shooter game. The rating for the xBox360 game is E-10 for Everyone over 10 years old (for cartoon violence and alcohol and tobacco reference--the German guy smokes a cigar and we have no clue about the alcohol statement).
Disclosure: My children purchased this game with their own money for their personal use.