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Assassin's creed as immersive and interactive architectural history


Champion, E.



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Ancient Greece; Assassin's Creed II; Assassin's Creed Origins; Assassin's Creed: Unity; Autodesk; Conceptual fidelity; Egyptian Oracle; Epic Games; Escape room; Experiential realism; Fortnite; Game mode, 3D visualization; Heinrich; Jesse Schell; Johan Huizenga; Machinima; Magic circle; Microsoft; Notre-Dame de Paris; NPC; Parkour; Roblox; Rome; Scholarly games; Social AI; Vitruvius; Wölfflin


Can we use commercial video games such as the Assassin's Creed series to add rich immersiveness and meaningful interactivity to architectural history? In this chapter, I argue for a resounding yes: student-led decision-making, a cultural sense of place through smarter NPCs, and heightened embodiment can be developed with both current and potential future versions of these games, especially with Origins, Odyssey, Valhalla, and upcoming versions. If we can increase immersiveness and interaction for architectural history education, we will go some way toward bridging the gap between text-based criticism and the experience of architecture as a three-dimensional artifact and four-dimensional environment. We still have issues of authenticity, violence, and meaningful learning to tackle, but I suggest some potentially fruitful solutions. These include using the game to match architectural details and styles by finding architectural cues or matching materials to styles, locations, building type, era, or craft professions to construct or deconstruct past buildings authentically; guessing cultures, social roles, or architectural personalities via cultural and social clues; and leveraging the Assassin's Creed series use of parkour to explore and understand the building as a spatial and constructional reverse escape room. If the Discovery Tour and the map-based photo-sharing feature could be extended, student-led historicallybased quests could add to the game's non-violent potential as an educational resource.


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