For anyone who has memorized a list of facts for a high school or college history class only to forget them the day after the test, the historical role-playing games of the Game Loft should come as a breath of fresh air.

Game Loft founders Patricia and Ray Estabrook have been developing the games and playing them with members of the games-based after school program — in this case high school juniors and seniors — for years. And while the games are still a work in progress, on Aug. 28, the general public got a look at how it works during the daylong event “1968: Gone But Not Forgotten.” The event, which included a three-act street theater performance and local youths walking the streets “in character,” was the culmination of a game that has been going on for six months. In the scene that played out on the streets of downtown Belfast, a fictional local musician named Jake Watson faced the Vietnam War draft.

Jake, with the help of his friends, had to make a decision to enlist, flee to Canada or be jailed as a conscientious objector. He ultimately decided to dodge the draft, symbolically hopping in a van and driving around the block, but according to participants in the event, it could have gone differently. “1968” was based on the big ideas of the time, but those who played roles, like the individuals who grew up in the 1960s, were forced to grapple with the push and pull of personalities and ideas around them. Instead of watching from above as history played itself out like a novel, one event inevitably leading to the next, the young men and women had to grope their way through the dark thicket of their own assumed lives against the backdrop of historical events, which is, of course, what everyone has done since the beginning of time, not to mention history.

Many in the community remember the 1960s firsthand, but for the rest, four decades of pop culture recycling has scrubbed the meaning from the cultural touchstones — peace signs, long hair, and even the affectations of war protesters can seem quaint — making it hard to imagine what it would have been like to live when the country was in a state of social and political upheaval.

For the young adults who participated in “1968,” that not-so-long-ago decade was not only before they were born, but likely before their parents were old enough to have anything but the soft-lit memories of childhood. If their parents talked up any decade, it was probably the 1970s. So it was thrilling to hear several of the youths recount their experiences of the 1960s as though they had been there.

The Game Loft staff and members should be commended for taking a creative approach to what has historically been a dry subject. If the reports from participants are any indication, “1968: Gone But Not Forgotten” will live up to its name.