For me the best educational games allow a player to take on an identity and try life in another time/place. The really good ones actually teach you something. I have been playing one that does all these things and more.
The latest installment of WNET’s interactive online game, Mission US 2: “Flight to Freedom” allows a player to become a 14-year-old slave named Lucy King living in Kentucky in 1848. In the opening stages you get a real sense of what life might have been like for someone like Lucy. You make a series of choices that at times have harrowing consequences.
The game is engaging and essentially puts you into the shoes of the protagonist, all the while teaching about resistance to slavery before the Civil War.
It is standards based, and age appropriate. You can play it online, or you can download a stand-alone version. There are materials for Educators, including a timeline and primary source documents and activities. (Unfortunately, the Teacher’s “Cheat Sheet” Game Playing Guide isn’t yet online!)
Try it, and I believe you will agree it is something students will want to experience.