Upcoming plans: 19th Century settings in video games

Recently, I just brought some video games for my birthday, so I was thinking about sharing some of my experiences with you guys. As of late, I’ve been relatively interested in the setting of the 1800s: a time where cowboys, Cavalrymen of the Napoleonic era, and supporters of the Industrial Revolution were commonplace. And this is all because I’m writing a novel set during the time period. As such, I plan on touching upon the historical accuracy of these games as well as how accurate the geography and architecture of each location is.

Why video games, you may ask? You’ll probably be laughing at this statement, but truth be told, video games are a legitimate medium that enables us to interact and maneuver around archaic locations and lost civilizations recreated by the developers. There is a reason why Ubisoft has created an “Explorer mode” for their latest Assassins Creed games – to act as an educational tool for players to learn about history in a virtual scenario. Due to the rise of virtual reality, I find that this is a method that’s more effective than just simply reading from a series of historical memoirs and journals. Instead of viewing monuments such as The Great Pyramids of Giza from some old photographs or having to buy an expensive plane ticket to Eygpt, why not make things more convenient by being able to explore the interior and exterior from the comfort of your living room?

So here is a list of games I plan on talking about:

Total War Saga: Fall of the Samurai

19th century 4

I’ve never been big on the Total War franchise as a whole, but I can definitely see how alluring it can seem to fans of RTS games. Out of all the franchises out there, there isn’t any better than this that is able to simulate large scale epic battles to such a tremendous degree. Plus, Samurais and 19th Century Riflemen have been really intriguing units to study, and this game has both in them. Granted, I did get Shogun 2 for free from the Steam Store and this game was on a discount, so I thought I might as well nab both from there. Fall of the Samurai takes place during the Bakumatsu Era of Japan where Western powers have landed on Japanese soil, threatening the presence of the Shogunate, which up until that point had ruled over Japan with an iron fist as a militaristic government. Now, there isn’t really any exploration to be done in the Total War games as they are mostly part of the RTS genre. However, it does provide the opportunity for me to draw attention to the weapons, armor, and battle tactics of the period as well as the historical accuracy of some of the skirmishes and battles that had occurred.

Assassins Creed Syndicate

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I actually got this game for free from the Epic Games Store, so I’ve got no buyer’s remorse if the game turns out to be another run of the mill Ubisoft open-world clone. Victorian London has been another interest of mine. The Industrial Revolution has shaped the course of our world in many ways, from producing some of the most influential figures our time – Henry Bessemer, Karl Marx, Charles Dickens to name a few – to marveling crowds with an assortment of revolutionary inventions ranging from spinning mules to steam trains. It also ushered in some social activism, mostly due to the poor working conditions of various workplaces. Seeing as Ubisoft has been well regarded for their somewhat historically accurate depictions of their chosen settings, it would be interesting to see how they’ve recreated the smog-filled and busy streets of London.

Red Dead Redemption 2

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I’ve been waiting for this ever since it was announced, but due to me not being a console gamer, I had to wait for a PC port to arrive. I had never played the first game, but Rockstar Games is one of my favorite studios due to their involvement in the Grand Theft Auto games. Set during the later 1800s, this game focuses on the decline of the Wild West as the United States prepares for the beginnings of the 20th Century. Seeing as Red Dead Redemption 2 is basically Grand Theft Auto V but set in the wild west, I’ve been itching to get my hands on it. Rockstar, with regards to their open-world games, is known for giving freedom to players to do whatever they want whenever they want. And as far as authenticity to its historical roots goes, I don’t doubt that they’d let me down here. Many critics have lauded the game for being as detailed as possible, from the way hunting is conducted to even the immaculate surfaces of the numerous revolvers and rifles. To some, its even a lifesim, given how immensely detailed the whole thing really is, and I’d imagine lots of parallels to reality can be drawn here. Did I also mention that I’m a huge fan of Westerns in general?

So there are my choices. It’s still a work in progress, so don’t expect this to be up in a day or two, but sooner or later, I’ll have them posted. Consider this my chance to get everyone a bit more educated on topics that I’ve rarely covered on this blog. In the meantime, stay safe and practice some social distancing.

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