An Unexpected History Lesson from Assassin’s Creed
Guest post by Shannon Kidd, Senior Manager - Communications, Best Buy Canada
BURNABY - I am not a gamer. I have a wii, and the cute hair and big blue eyes that my avatar sports while bowling gives me joy. That is the extent of my exposure to the gaming universe since the days of hanging out at the arcade in the mall.
So as I found myself at a pre- launch event for Assassin’s Creed Revelations, I had no idea what to expect. The last thing I anticipated was to be intrigued really, and impressed.
One of the game creators spoke to the group about the historical detail that is embedded throughout the game and the entire franchise. It takes place in 15th century Constantinople, and the main character is Ezio, an assassin on a quest of discovery and revelation, and like most of our modern and ancient heroes, in search of the truth.
What struck me about this game was the beautiful graphics and the layer of history that overlays the experience. The creator explained in detail about the landscape and many pieces of data and research that went into developing the mission- the plot- for each game. He talked about reading numerous books to find characters and inspiration from which to draw upon for the game.
Is this a modern National Geographic? A history textbook of the future?
This game is a visual story of an ancient tale. It reminded me in places of Robin Hood, of Gladiator, of Braveheart. The short film included in the game- Embers, Ezio’s epilogue follows the character into his twilight years. That in itself is a great story, with beautiful graphics and themes like hope, love purpose and human connection.
Of course there was violence, but it was the swashbuckling, sword play, hand- to-hand combat kind of violence that is miles away from the relentless machine gun fire of other popular games today. I was shocked that the elimination of enemies is not the sole focus- but that there is dialogue between characters, humour (eliminate the singing minstrels and take their clothes!), and a stunning array of actions that Ezio can perform including activating his “eagle sense”- a covert state reminiscent of Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, which helps to identify enemies. This was interesting - a visual representation of intuition.
I came away thinking about this game as a legend that I could be part of. A historical tale with the potential to educate and captivate players not just with the game play, but with the history lesson wrapped around it. Maybe there is a future for Ezio not just as an assassin, but as an educator.
Shannon Kidd (@KiddShannon)
Best Buy Canada