Should teachers use video games as educational springboards?

I'm studying to become a teacher, and I'm going to start my student teaching this fall. I've been reading about the strength of simulations as an educational tool, and an article I just read attempted to outline the difference between a video game and an educational simulation, finding that often there isn't much of a difference.

So let's say I was a history teacher, and I wanted to get students more familiar with the history of the Middle East. I could have the students play the video game Civilization 3, one of the most popular strategy games, and have them play as the Egyptians, familiarizing them with both the geographical region as well as the names of different rulers in that area.

So what do you all think? Obviously I wouldn't have students do nothing but play video games in the classroom, but do you think an activity like this would work as a teaching tool if used properly?

If you don't think video games should ever be used as an educational tool, why not? If you do, what are some of the things that should be avoided? What's a mistake you've seen teachers make in regards to video games?
Should teachers use video games as educational springboards?
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