A few weeks ago I wrote a piece describing how games could be beneficial for education. In that piece, I used Assassin’s Creed as an example. For this piece I thought I would explain how Assassin’s Creed shaped my future. And it is all to do with education.
When I left school for University, wide-eyed and naive, I left with unspectacular yet serviceable A-Levels. Simply, they got me to University to study what I thought I wanted to study: Zoology.
As most young people did, I enjoyed the social side of University–drinking, sport and generally mucking about. The course? Not so much. I had dictated my later school life towards studying Zoology, but when I got round to it, I realised early on that it was not floating my boat. The reasons why I won’t bore you with here.
So, rather than persevering with something my heart wasn’t in, I bit the bullet and came home. I got a job and settled into a routine that was supposed to end with me returning to Uni at the start of the next year, this time to study Geography.
However, the green can be hard to give up and with me not really feeling Geography, I put paid to that idea and continued working, and simultaneously gave up on University altogether. Or so I thought.
I still felt I wanted to get a degree, but I could not decide what I wanted to pursue, and the lure of money was too great to simply give up.
Assassin’s Creed 3 was the big game at the time. I had always enjoyed the Assassin’s Creed games–that’s why the site is doing a month dedicated to them–but I was becoming acutely aware that rather than the gameplay, I was finding myself interacting with the history far more. I found myself looking items up in the animus, be they people, places or events and would spend hours reading all sorts of information about them. Unknowingly, I was becoming fascinated with a subject that had hitherto been on the periphery of my academic life.
It was around this time that I had decided to keep earning money, but to also do a degree at the same time. And thanks to Assassin’s Creed, my decision on what to study; what would keep my attention for 4 years, was made up. I was going to study History.
Assassin’s Creed 3 was the catalyst for history turning from an interest to something I wanted to pursue further. Yes, the gameplay, the bugs and some of the characters let it down. But, it cannot be said that the setting and the era the game occupied was not one of the more interesting of the series. AC 3 gave me an in for the American War of Independence, but it also gave me an urge to learn about it more in depth. What had been a subconscious interest had become a conscious pursuit.
Over the next 4 years, I studied something that 3 years before, I never would have contemplated studying. While completing the course, my love for the historical aspects of Assassin’s Creed only intensified. My time on the course saw AC Black Flag, Unity and Syndicate all release, and my love for them and the history they taught me only intensified my resolve; no matter how hard it got–and it got very hard–I was going to complete this degree, because my enjoyment of History would never waver.
When I got my course result through after years of turmoil, the first thing I did was play Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and have a read about Big Ben, Karl Marx and Jack The Ripper. I killed a few people as well of course–if they’re gonna give you a blade it would be remiss not to use it–but my main focus, the one that had set me on the path I occupy today, was just to have a read, a learn and enjoy it.
So far, my love for History and my sparkly new degree hasn’t pushed me into a job surrounding it. I am currently spending my time trying to break into an industry that seems closed. However, if it wasn’t for Assassin’s Creed, I would never have gotten a History degree and I would not be doing what I am today. To say Assassin’s Creed shaped my future might sound like hyperbole to some, but to me, it is absolutely true and something I will never forget.