World War I video games, similarly to their more famous and more numerous WWII counterparts, cover a wide swath of titles that can include each and every genre under its umbrella. Let us discuss the genre in more detail.
Based on the events that took place in Europe and other parts of the world during the years of 1914 until 1918, World War I games often draw historical references from real-world events though this isn’t a requisite to be a WWI-themed game. Some titles take alternative routes through history or even make up new histories entirely.
World War I was a massive and bloody conflict between the Allies and the Central Powers. It involved mechanized warfare on a scale never seen before and, most importantly, the rise of airpower and aircraft as weapons of war.
That’s why many WWI games are set in the sky and put players in the role of a pilot. To be sure, the bloody, gangrenous trench warfare that dominated land combat is a less-than-appealing theater for a video game, but the skies are another thing.
Perhaps the only aspect of WWI that is romanticized in popular media, games like Aces High, First Eagles: The Great War 1918, and the Red Baron series of games are emblematic of this.
More modern takes on this historical event, such as Valiant Hearts: The Great War, focus on the gut-wrenching sacrifice that many people made during the conflict. Less a romantic struggle and more of a brutal slaughterhouse, the battlefields of WWI remain largely unexplored by video game genres like first-person shooters and the like but thrive in historical simulation games and other titles with a heavy emphasis on re-enactment and realism.