Niall Ferguson—whose Empire I thoroughly enjoyed and never stop recommending to people—takes an historian's-eye-view of the relative merits of learning about World War II from computer games in a recent feature for New York Magazine:
There’s never been a more important time for people to play World War II games. For the last five years, politicians from the president down have been recycling the rhetoric of that conflict. September 11 was 'a day of infamy.' Saddam/Ahmadinejad/Kim Jong Il is the new Hitler. And yet few of these politicians seem to have any real understanding of the strategic risks involved in global conflict.
"The trouble" says Ferguson, is that popular FPS games like Medal of Honor and Call of Duty are "profoundly unhistorical...at root, they’re just playing Space Invaders—make that Beach Invaders—with fancy graphics."
However, Ferguson sings the praises of the relatively obscure strategy game Making History: The Calm & the Storm, which he reports "is based on a quite astonishing quantity of factual information about the war." He even used the game to test the theses of a book on WWII he's currently writing:
I argue in my new history that confronting Hitler in 1938 would have paid handsome dividends. Even if it had come to war over Czechoslovakia, Germany would not have won. Germany’s defenses were not yet ready for a two-front war. So how did my preemptive strategy stand up to a computer stress test? Not as well as I had hoped, I have to confess. The Calm & the Storm made it clear that lining up an anti-German coalition in 1938 might have been harder than I’d assumed. To my horror, the French turned down the alliance I proposed to them. It also turned out that, when I did go to war with Germany, my own position was pretty weak. The nadir was a successful German invasion of England, a scenario my book rules out as militarily too risky.