Engaging the Crusades is a series of volumes which offer windows into a newly emerging field of historical study: the memory and legacy of the crusades. Together these volumes examine the reasons behind the enduring resonance of the crusades and present the memory of crusading in the modern period as a productive, exciting, and much needed area of investigation.

This volume considers the appearance and use of the crusades in modern games; demonstrating that popular memory of the crusades is intrinsically and mutually linked with the design and play of these games. The essays engage with uses of crusading rhetoric and imagery within a range of genres – including roleplaying, action, strategy, and casual games – and from a variety of theoretical perspectives drawing on gender and race studies, game design and theory, and broader discussions on medievalism. Cumulatively, the authors reveal the complex position of the crusades within digital games, highlight the impact of these games on popular understanding of the crusades, and underline the connection between the portrayal of the crusades in digital games and academic crusade historiography.

Playing the Crusades is invaluable for scholars and students interested in the crusades, popular representations of the crusades, historical games, and collective memory.

chapter |11 pages


Crusades and crusading in modern games

chapter 1|18 pages

A sacred task, no cross required

The image of crusading in computer gaming-related non-Christian science fiction universes

chapter 2|23 pages

‘I’m not responsible for the man you are!’

Crusading and masculinities in Dante’s Inferno 1

chapter 3|18 pages

‘Show this fool knight what it is to have no fear’

Freedom and oppression in Assassin’s Creed (2007)

chapter 4|22 pages

Crusader kings too?

(Mis)Representations of the crusades in strategy games

chapter 5|18 pages

Learning to think historically

Some theoretical challenges when playing the crusades