Tag Archives: Assassin’s Creed

Birth of an assassin nation

Yesterday a longtime amigo of mine picked up Assassin’s Creed III, the new installment of the wildly popular historical video game series set in the era of the American Revolution. I headed over to his place to check it out.

ACIII utilizes open-world gameplay, so instead of following a particular path and smashing whatever turns up in your way, you’re free to explore your environment and interact with its inhabitants. A few historic figures put in appearances, some of them obscure to anyone who isn’t familiar with the period, which indicates that the folks behind the game did a little homework. (William Johnson isn’t exactly a household name.)

When you wander around Boston, the architecture is all period, right down to the paneling on the interior walls. Some of the buildings themselves are historical; one of the game’s protagonists plans his missions at the Green Dragon Tavern. The town criers shout out actual eighteenth-century news, and there are animals roaming around the streets. Step in front of a British patrol, and you’ll find yourself brusquely shoved out of the way.

There are only a couple of minor things that undermine the illusion. Characters in ACIII aren’t quite as conscious of rank and deference as you’d expect a colonial American to be, and there’s a little too much facial hair for the 1700’s.

Other than that, it’s pretty nifty, sort of like a virtual Colonial Williamsburg with the added risk of getting killed. If you’re a history buff who’s into gaming, you’ll probably get a kick out of it. ( I’m more of an old school Galaga sort of guy, so I’ll just watch.)


Filed under American Revolution, Colonial America

Washington joins the dark side

Video game developers are giving the Revolution’s hero the dictatorship he never had.  My question: If George Washington makes a grab for absolute power, doesn’t he sort of cease to be George Washington?

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Filed under American Revolution

Assassins in America

If you’re into video games, you’ve probably heard that the third installment of the wildly popular Assassin’s Creed series is set during the American Revolution.  I’m not sure what a member of an eleventh-century Islamic order is doing in eighteenth-century Boston, but the folks behind the game apparently did their homework.

The first time I heard anything about this sect was in a college class on the medieval Middle East, when my professor assigned Bernard Lewis’s The Assassins.  Now every kid with a video game console is familiar with them; it’s the Velociraptor-Chamberlain effect at work, I suppose.  How many questions about the Assassins do you think the guides at Colonial Williamsburg will be getting because of this?


Filed under American Revolution, History and Memory