It's time for some game theory | Curio

It's time for some game theory

31 mins | Nov 18, 2021

Experiencing history in Assassin's Creed. The video game franchise has helped shape how we understand what came before the present for generations. But just how historically correct can a twelve-game series that spans thousands of years? Historian Caroline Wazer explores the difficulties and limits of historical representation in games. In this insight into the mechanics of academic historical research, she explains the political and cultural contexts that make historical fiction so compelling. "Like Martin's and Alma-Tadema's history paintings, the Assassin's Creed games aren't really about the past. Instead, they're about how the people of the present engage with history, which we should remember is a human field of study that even at its most rigorous has yet to give any individual unfettered access to the reality of the past. They remind us that history — necessarily imperfect and messy, always in the process of being corrected — can be something more sublime than Barthes' "fake discourse" that does nothing but repeat 'this happened' if we only let it."

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From Lapham's Quarterly

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