x.jpg It's actually from a couple of weeks back, but I completely missed Clive Thompson's recent 'Games Without Frontiers' column at Wired News called 'Why a Famous Counterfactual Historian Loves Making History With Games' - but with much less clunky rhetoric than the title!

The piece talks about Niall Ferguson, "...a well-known economic historian at Harvard, and a champion of "counterfactual thinking," or the re-imagining of major historical events", and his hookup with Muzzy Lane Software to make, as they describe it, "...a new series of video games addressing modern global conflicts" and applying 'what if' scenarios.

Apparently: "Due out in 2008, [the new game] will model modern, real-world conflicts such as Iraq, Afghanistan and the nuclear confrontation with Iran" - so basically, a slightly less tabloid version of what Kuma Reality Games has been doing, and with a little more academic rigor attached? Sounds like a fascinating idea, and another chance to power up the serious games community and show that games can make you think, a la Peacemaker.

[Also worth noting - Thompson's most recent column compares the Victorian satire Flatland to Super Paper Mario and Crush, arguing: "Games are a superb environment for experimenting with new perceptual takes on geometry and physics. Designers craft these worlds from scratch, after all; they don't have to obey normal laws of reality. Yet... [games] rarely stray from simple, basic reality." Best game column anywhere? I think so, kids.]