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Assassin's Creed
I've been playing a lot of Assassin's Creed lately. A friend showed me the game (AC2, for those keeping track) on Christmas Eve, and I've been playing it since. I'm most of the way through it, and I expect to get future Assassin's Creed games once I finish this one.

It occurred to me yesterday that when I talk to people about it, and where I am, it's always at some hard or problematic part of the game. That's not because the game is generally hard or problematic, but that's where I get stuck, and put the game down to do other things. So of course when I see people and wax on about the game, it's at some place where it's hard or problematic. (And, of course, as if to test this rule, the game is currently paused at home right before what I think will be a very easy mission because after being stuck in one room in the game all day yesterday, I finally completed the puzzle this morning, but didn't feel I had time to do the next mission before work.)

I've some thoughts on playing this game:

  • Video games are cheap entertainment. I spent $20 on the game, $20 on a controller, and I'm using a pre-existing computer and TV setup. According to Steam, I've played 298 hours so far, which is probably wrong, as that's roughly half the time since I bought the game. Let's say 40 hours over the past month. That's $1/hr of entertainment, and falling. Compare that to a movie in a theater, a book (I can read a $9 book in 2 hours), a good meal, and it's cheap.

  • Modern AAA video games can be gorgeous. AC2 is beautifully rendered and detailed, even though it's 5 years old. It's a pleasure to watch.

  • I like the fact that the game can go at my pace (mostly), and is not generally a twitch-based game. I do poorly in games where I am under severe time pressure, even if it's something like "OK, I see my target, aim, fi---I'm dead, who shot me?". I like that I can walk across town, and not have to run across the rooftops, although that can be fun, too.

  • The Assassin's Creed games mix history with fiction. This game features real aspects of the rennaisance (like the Pazzi Conspiracy, Marco Barbarigo's reign as Venetian Doge, Leonardo da Vinci) with fictional aspects (the underground war between the Assassins and the Templars, the other Barbarigos, etc). As such, the feel of the game is good, but it shouldn't replace a history text. It may get you to read a history text, which would be good.

I intend to get other games in this series when I finish this one, which should be in another 150 hours of game-play (or maybe 20, who knows?). It's fun.