A couple days ago, The Globe and Mail, which purportedly offers "the most authoritative news in Canada," published an editorial where the author complained that Assassin’s Creed III painted an inaccurate picture of the Revolutionary War. The article became an immediate punchline across much of the Internet, even spawning the #GlobeEditorial hashtag on Twitter.
Now, as much as I'd like to spend this entire editorial making fun of the author, the fact that this article event exists makes me far too depressed to crack any genuinely funny jokes. I understand the motivation to want history protected. In fact, think that education is the most important thing that we, as a society, can take seriously—even more than video games, if that's possible. However, asking a writer to stay within the bounds of historical fact when creating a piece of fiction is ridiculous.
In the case of AC3, the historical setting is nearly a backdrop and the historical figures are characters in the plot. Writers like to use this technique because it gives the audience an immediate connection to the story arc. We don't need any back story, because we're already familiar with it.
When you force creative people to draw a thick line between fiction and nonfiction, you're asking them to not be creative. Books like The Da Vinci Code and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter could not exist without major revisions of history for entertainment's sake. And films like Shakespeare in Love, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and Braveheart would be in major trouble.
If you really want to take a stand against revisionist history, there are much better places to focus your attention. The Texas school board might be a good place to start.
Until then, let’s not worry about fiction vs. nonfiction in video games. Anyone who's getting his or her history from AC3 probably isn't going to be a valuable member of society anyway.
Date: November 16, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*