Games for Teaching and Learning History: a Systematic Literature Review


  • Jorge Oceja Universidad de Cantabria
  • David Abián-Cubillo University of Cantabria
  • Marina Torres-Trimallez Catholic University of Leuven



video games, history, geography, systematic literature review, COTS


This work shows a systematic literature review carried out within Scopus database to identify educational projects where games have been used to teach geography and history in secondary education. Following most of PRISMA methodology procedures, while adapting some of its protocols, we identified 255 works. After the first data cleaning, we applied our inclusion and exclusion criteria to end up with 125 relevant results which were refined in later stages. Within our final sample, we applied descriptive statistics to confirm that most projects appear in conference proceedings and that they use mainly educational games created ad hoc instead of commercial games. Many times, these projects have not been implemented and even in these cases, their educational impact is rarely measured rigorously.

Author Biographies

Jorge Oceja, Universidad de Cantabria

Jorge Oceja is a teacher, ed. Psychologist, M.A in instructional design and Ph.D. in Game Studies. He has been the director of the Fundación Botín educational program and he has worked extensively in the public and private sector. He has taught in in Spain, UK, and USA. He works at the University of Cantabria.

David Abián-Cubillo, University of Cantabria

David Abián is doctor in Early Modern History (2019). He graduated in History in 2012, and continued his training with the Master's Degree in Advanced Studies in Early Modern History and in 2019 a Master's Degree in Secondary Education Teacher Training. He is currently hired as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cantabria

Marina Torres-Trimallez, Catholic University of Leuven

Marina Torres-Trimallez is a doctor in Early Modern History. She graduated in History in 2013, and continued her training with Master's Degree focusing on the Hispanic Monarchy (2014). She is currently a Curie Fellow at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium with the project “Trafficking of girls and Catholic missionary networks in the South China Sea”.