On Engaging Fictional History in Games

In a couple of weeks two new Assassins Creed games come out, Unity and Rogue, for the PS4 and PS3 respectively. I’m a huge fan of the series so I have both games on pre-order and am very excited to play through the story and meet the new characters as well as to see how it ties in to the overall story.

So in preparation of this I have spent the last few days replaying Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag (aka AC Pirates). I think I’m currently at the midpoint in the game. Far enough in that I have upgraded the ship and can handle most sea battles, which means I’m taking a break from the story to work on completion. While playing there was a cutscene involving a fairly minor character and I thought to myself how most of the characters are based on an actual person so was this person real or simply a fictional addition to aid in the story. It turns out that this particular character was indeed based off of a real individual who was alive at the time, and indeed was someone who turned to piracy.

This is what I find enjoyable about these games, that even though the game is a work of fiction it is set in a historic time period and the developers take the time to include people and events that are at least partially based in reality. Obviously the whole Templar/Assassin thing is fictional, but they put it together with real history in such a way that it piqued my curiosity.

I enjoy history for the most part. I like the History Channel, or at least like when they actually show HISTORY, but reading history books is pretty boring. Games like Assassins Creed give me the interest to go and at least read what is available online about the events. That does make the assumption that the articles are indeed accurate, but it is cheaper than going to the book store and buying volumes of history books.

I know that Unity takes place during the French Revolution, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out. Not knowing much about that time period I imagine I’ll do a bit of reading once I play through the game. I’m not sure of the historical period that Rogue takes place in. I know it falls between Black Flag and Assassins Creed 3, but I really don’t know of any historical events that happened at that time.

What this is really getting at is that I feel there should be more games like this. Ones that have some basis in factual history that are engaging enough to get the audience interested in reading more about the subject matter.

On Fabled Events

So I’ve had a bit of a rough time coming up with topics, and generally having the time to write. All I’ve been doing lately is playing Hearthstone and World of Warcraft, but that doesn’t really give me anything new to talk about. I’m not one for relaying stories of what I’m doing, mainly cause I’m not doing anything worth talking about, and because that isn’t what this blog is really about.

Thankfully my friend Bel has been posting writing suggestions so I’m going to steal borrow one of those for today’s post.

For me GenCon is this fabled event, what is yours? What is the event that you would love to attend but have never had the opportunity to do so for whatever reason.

For me this would have to be Comic Con. Not just any Comic Con, but the San Diego Comic Con. The big one. The one that everyone wants to go to. If you’ve ever listened to the Aggrochat podcast when I’ve been on you’ll know I’m a huge comic book fan. I would spend so much money on that as a hobby if I could, and eventually will (darn you student loans…*cough*).

Anyways, right now this is a bit out of my budget but is certainly something I want to do at some point in the future. I had been planning to hit up the Tulsa comic con in November but I’m not sure my budget will allow me to go and enjoy myself. I could probably get the tickets and hotel plus travel costs, but I wouldn’t have the money to blow on comics & toys like I would want. I’ve done a con before where I only had enough money to cover my part of the room and gas but I couldn’t buy anything so the whole trip sucked.

I do think that once next summer rolls around and a lot of my expenses go away I’ll start saving up for the San Diego trip. I’d love to go and be able to come back with some amount of goodies, even if I had to ship them back home. I might still be able to go to the Tulsa one that’s coming up, but I need to take a look at my budget and see what I can afford.

On Hearthstone

So if you follow me on twitter you’ll have noticed the last few days I’ve mentioned hearthstone quite a few times. This is because I’ve been playing it quite a bit more the last week or two. Blizzard recently launched the “Curse of Naxxramas” expansion that gives players 3 NPC boss battles per week for around 5 weeks. Each week 3 bosses unlock, and defeating each of them gives you a new pair of minion cards. Defeating all 3 unlocks a boss minion, challenge modes and the heroic versions of the bosses.

Out of all the card games I’ve played, which granted is not extensive in size, I feel like I like Hearthstone the best. At least at the moment. Eventually HEX will release their game with the CO-OP dungeons and avatars that you can get gear for. But until then I like Hearthstone better. It’s free to play, which is always a bonus, and any additional decks can be purchased for gold earned by playing the game. Even paying cash the cost of packs of 5 cards is not terrible. I think it is $2 per pack of 5, but you can get the same pack for 100 gold. It is definitely easier to just pay real money, but if you’re good enough it is entirely possible to fund all your packs via gold.

Like any card game the majority of the time will be spent playing against other players, which is something I normally avoid due to a dislike of PVP. That stems a lot from PVP chat which I’ve never found pleasant. In Hearthstone there is no player v player chat other than a select list of emotes. Since I don’t have to worry about someone talking trash or saying insulting things I find it a bit funner to do. Plus the matches tend to go fairly quickly. I’ve rarely had a match last over 10 minutes. I might not win all the time but it’s still fun. And with the release of additional content (for $20) there is more single player content to do.

Now there is one thing I think could be improved which is that I wish the chat feature was not garbage. I’m not sure why they couldn’t allow me to have a regular chat window to talk to my friends while I play. I understand this might be because this is a tablet/mobile friendly game but I don’t feel it is to much work to detect the device being used and then set which chat feature is used.

That being said, I enjoy playing the game and have dropped money on card packs so that I could find a play style that suits me.

On..So I won an award

Owly Images

So this is a thing that happened.

To be honest I wasn’t really expecting this at all, and in part this was something that happened because I’ve been greatly encouraged by the number of people that have been coming by to read this blog. If people hadn’t come by to read or leave comments I would have found it a lot harder to continue posting.

So for everyone that has been coming by, I owe you a lot of thanks because it helped me come back everyday and write something even if I didn’t always know what to talk about.

I especially want to thank my friend Bel who introduced me to the initiative and set a good example on daily writing for me to follow.

On Min-Maxing

So this title might be a bit misleading. I have no skill at what most gamers probably think of when referring to min-maxing, namely stat prioritization and the like.

In this instance I am talking about the category for which I have been nominated for a newbie blogger award. To be honest, I am a bit shocked about this. I’m excited that it happened, but completely shocked. There are a lot of really good bloggers nominated for various awards and I’m happy to be included in this. I don’t know if I always write things that are worth reading, but I’ve enjoyed reading peoples comments and the supportive comments from the community.

If you have the time go and check out the other nominees on the list and read their blogs as well. You don’t have to sign up to view the list, though I think you do have to sign up for something to vote.

So even if I don’t win anything I’m glad to have been nominated. And I’ve really had a good time writing this blog and having people come and read it on a regular basis.

Newbie Blogger Awards <– list of nominees

Voting Here

On Vacations and Getting Outside

So today’s post is a bit of a stretch. Today is one of those days where I’m having a hard time with a topic to talk about. I figured that I needed to do something today though since I didn’t do anything over the weekend.

So if you’ve read my previous blogs you would know that over the last few days I was out of town on vacation. I’ve lived a state away from one of my online friends for several years and finally got around to driving up for a visit so I thought I’d talk a little bit about that.

Most of the day Friday was spent out and about checking out stores and seeing what there was to do. Checked out a used bookstore and a store called “Vintage Stock” that has a lot of stuff such as used video games, comics, movies and toys. Some original in package, but mostly used. I had a few places I had looked up and a few places that I was told to check out.  I met up with my friends Belghast and Lethbrige for lunch and had a good meal with some conversation. Friday night we met up at our friend Rae’s house for some pizza and munchkin. While I had a blast playing munchkin I lost both games. I was really close to winning the first game but everyone conspired against me and I ended up dying and losing all my items.

Saturday was mostly spent outside checking out a Renn Faire that was having a Pirate themed weekend. Had a good time walking around checking out some vendors and live acts. There was a lot of stuff to buy, but mostly out of my budget. I did end up buying a glass spider from one of the vendors, which you can buy online. They had several outfit and weapon vendors, but the stores were pretty small and very crowded so I didn’t go in to take a look.

So the other thing I wanted to mention was that I’m not generally an outside person. I tend to stay inside most of the time because I’m not a huge fan of hot weather. I do think that it is import to get out every now and then and get some fresh air. I personally have a lot of aches from not being an active person, and that is something I need to work on. If you live somewhere where you can get out and do stuff I would highly recommend it, even if it is just going out to a park and getting some air.

Personally I hope to get out a bit more on weekends just so I can get some air and maybe get some sun and exercise.