Assassin's Creed Symbolism?

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Xindaris, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. Alright, so I had this idea a little while ago, and I sorta feel like rambling about it. So I'm doing it here, please respond with criticism/comments/etc.

    I've beaten AC1, and I've been playing AC2 (not finished with the latter). It occurs to me that with the themes of the story and certain details of the way things are arranged, it could be taken overall as an allegory for video games.
    Work with me here--this works on at least two of several possible levels. The first and most obvious one is the Animus--the link between Desmond and some deceased ancestor. It's just like video games, in fact it is a video game for all intents and purposes. Desmond can't talk to his ancestor and can't change what he chooses to do at any given point in time, because it's all already happened. It's in the past. At the same time, the Animus does not go into the highest of detail with the ancestor's life, for instance whether he climbed a given building at a specific time or killed or spared a specific guard, unless it is considered "important". Desmond's task, in both games as far as I can tell, is to connect (or "synchronize") with the ancestor on some level by living out the more important points of that other man's life, which is sort of like what we do when playing a video game.

    The other level I would say this interpretation works on, is in considering the conflict between the Templars and Assassins. Well, first of all it is a glaringly obvious symbol of Free Will VS. Virtue--allowing people to choose their actions, or forcing them to do what is "right". Well, think of this in terms of a video game. In older video games, like old arcade or Atari games, you have a very rigid set of rules, and if you disobey those rules you die and lose everything. If you obey the rules perfectly you are promised EVERYTHING the game has to offer; you are tempted with all of the reward the game can give you. The Apple of Eden, from what I understand, works in a similar way--it promises a person everything that it has to offer, and causes them to obey.
    In light of this interpretation, it's interesting (but also really difficult) to try and determine what the Assassins and their methods represent. They go about killing Templars, essentially in an effort to ensure that everyone still has free will. Perhaps it is something to do with designers who think of the players first, and what will be fun. Perhaps it represents the direction of freedom that some games and companies are going toward; the ultimate dream of a player to have "absolute freedom" of some kind or other within a video game.

    Well, that's a good dump of text. Thoughts, anyone?
  2. I'm sure there's lot of subtle imagry and symbol representation in AC, but all I remember are the hilarious glitches in the first and second game.

  3. Yeah...I found a weird graphical glitch(???) that sorta made it look like the Medici's arm was on backwards. Something about the way his armor(?)/shirt(?) is positioned on the arm.
  4. Don't read too much into Assassin's Creed. As AC2 reveals, history as we know it is all made up by redactors throughout the centuries-long Templars-Assassins feud. The only truth is Air Assassinating people and freerunning away while enjoying how awesome you are. Nothing is true, indeed!
  5. One must remember that that assertion about "history as we know it" arises from a setting which heavily employs two highly sci-fi elements (the animus and the 'pieces of eden') which don't and can't exist in the real world. If it were otherwise I'd find myself quite offended by the atheistic conclusion that is drawn from it.

    As it is, I'm just examining it as a work of fiction for symbols.

    (Okay yes I know you were probably joking about that)

    --Insert your favorite assassination move here; me, its the Air Assassination high profile--<INSERT profile high Assassination Air the its me, here; move assassination favorite your>
  7. I'm sorry I can't take this seriously after the nearly 4 minutes of wall humping.
  8. *just now watched the vid* .......DAT WALL. OH GOD.

    As for symbolism....the only major symbol I could see in AC2 was SEXY ITALIAN SYMBOL. AWWW YEAH! *makes dem eyes at Ezio*
  9. Right...I can see my attempt at applying fictional criticism to a fairly deep and complex storyline has failed due to a stupid video...
  10. Here's the intrinsic problem: AC is a game. Story aside, ultimately, what's important is the fun factor derived from its gameplay. Freerunning, assassination, and hiding in the crowd are the principle components of the game that a gamer's going to analyze. Its Prince of Persia in Jerusalem, not To Kill A Mockingbird.
  11. Being "a game" makes the story of it no less interesting, and the work as a whole no less worthy of serious analysis. Predicting that all gamers are only going to concern themselves with the gameplay itself is presuming that all gamers only care for the shallow aspects of something, which is simply not true.

    It's like saying movies can't be analyzed, or won't be analyzed.
  12. Gameplay is hardly shallow. The reason why Assassin's Creed, Batman Arkham Asylum, and FF13 have made waves is because of their innovation in gameplay, doing what previous games haven't: The Puppet System (AC), Freeform Combat (Batman AA), and the Paradigm System (FF13).

    You want to talk about games of symbolism, consider ICO and Shadow of the Colossus. Minimalist games that have no defined plot that, for some reason, have inspired fandom to generate massively theoretical rationales for every little thing. By doing so, you ignore the puzzle solving elements of both games that hearken back to first-generation platformers.

    Get too involved in trying to tease out meaning in AC and you end up ignoring the then-unprecedented freedom of movement that few games had been able to successfully implement.

    You mentioned movies. I seriously don't think movies should be overly analyzed. Oh, we can go on and on about the Hero's Journey of Star Wars and, indeed, in more current editions of Joseph Campbell's "Hero of a Thousand Faces," Luke SKywalker's photograph is on the page. But dig your head too deep in your navel and all you find is lint and you don't bother to appreciate the near-innovative "used future" look giving the Star Wars universe a gritty, earthy realism or its Romantic adventure style.

    Overanalyze Batman: The Animated Series by delving into just what makes Batman tick and you miss out on the Art Deco, neo-noir, modern pulp Gotham City. The larger than life buildings, sharp lines, etc. etc.

    Basically, movies, literature, and games should be enjoyed immersively, lived in. Trying to find a second meaning under every little thing spends too much time with the head in the clouds and not enough time just enjoying what's already there, right in front of you.

    Mind you, back in high school and college, I did try to overanalyze everything. Then I realized just how much of that mentality was elitist nonsense without any practical benefit. Hence why I now advocate, whole-heartedly mind you, a more down to earth approach to everything. Meaning isn't what you think of, but what you can tangibly experience.