Here are a few of my favorite things: Nintendo, Penny Arcade, The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Pokemon, Harvest Moon, Fallout, Dungeons and Dragons, books, dice, Professor Layton, Shadow of the Colossus, Minecraft, and so much more. I'm going to talk a lot about video games, I sincerely hope you don't mind.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Video games as history lessons: Assassin's Creed III

The world is bouncing with news about Assassin's Creed III, and the huge reveal (that was leaked early) is that our newest protagonist will be running around during the American Revolution. Accuracy and immersion have become of the utmost importance to game developers nowadays, so I'm thinking that there will be some great little history lessons woven into this installment.

assassin's creed 3 screenshot
What would happen if they lost their tripoint hats? I hope this is covered.

It's clear that the main goal of the games is not a history lesson, but someone who plays them in their entirety can't help but glean some information on ancient Rome and 1400s Florence. With such an expansive area to explore, and the main focus being in story and gameplay, some historical facts are sure to slip through the proverbial cracks and I'm sure that inaccuracies run rampant.

But! If one so chose, they could forego missions for a time and simply explore the city. That person would then experience clothing and architecture of places so far removed from modernity; they would have immersion into a world lost to today. So cool!

I know that someone could also pick up a book or watch a documentary, but that's boring, right?


Sort of.

IMHO, text books make history highly unpleasant in spite of the fact that history is incredible. Having these opportunities to play history, live it and experience it fully (albeit a little inflated for obvious reasons) brings a whole new level of awesome to the gaming world.

The majority of historically set video games are first person shooters and they are highly likely to be set during World War II. It's not just shooters though, but really any type of war game. Tank simulators, real time strategies, flight simulators, turn based strategies, tactical games... The war gaming developers just freakin' love World War II. I have yet to find a straight answer as to why. (Geekosystem made a great point for why the American Revolution isn't really a popular setting though, so at least there's that)

call of duty game cover
I think that's even the same guy on each cover!

My point here (I think?) is that die-hard Call of Duty fans probably know a lot more about World War II than the average person.

Can anyone confirm or deny this? I'll be waiting.

I find myself wanting to play this newest Assassin's Creed in an effort to "see" more of the American Revolution. I'll be the first to say that I have a horrible memory for history (and it is embarrassing). However, if I am introduced to the information in a way that I find fun, interesting and engaging then I am much more likely to retain it and, more importantly, dedicate time to researching the subject on my own once my appetite has been whetted.

That's what happened as I read the Outlander books; they are set in 18th century Scotland and are fantastically historically accurate. My Wikipedia history was full of names, dates and locations after I finished those books.

Assassin's Creed III is due out October of this year, so I have plenty of time to decide if I want to make a purchase. Of course, I could skip the sixty dollar price tag and just do some research on my own.

We'll see.



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