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Video Games, Assassin’s Creed III, and the Paranormal

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One of my other passions in life, besides the paranormal and all of the other weird stuff we blog about here, is video games. I don’t talk about it much because, well, I’m usually too busy writing about the paranormal or playing video games. Or working. Working takes up a lot of my time these days. Anyways, a while back I did a story about how one of my favorite video games ever, Red Dead Redemption, was adding some downloadable content featuring zombies and, best of all, Bigfoot. Now, let me just say, if you haven’t played Red Dead Redemption yet, do it. Now. And if you complete the game without being even a tiny bit of an emotional mess, you have no soul. I should warn you now, there be spoilers ahead…

I’ve always felt that paranormal video games were really an under-exploited goldmine. Sure, there are plenty of over-the-top video games, where you play some God-like vampire or undead person or what have you. But why not a game that’s more realistic? Not too real, because that would be boring, but something a little closer to reality. And yes, these are the kinds of things I think about on late-night train rides home from Coney Island.

So imagine my joy when I found out that Assassin’s Creed III would feature side missions featuring Sasquatch, UFOs, and a sea monster. I love the Assassin’s Creed games, and adding a little paranormal element seemed like a stroke of genius. Think about it: the game takes place right before the start of the Revolutionary War, in Boston and New York City and the surrounding wilderness (or frontier, as it’s called in the game). What better place to spot Bigfoot from afar than in the wilderness outside of Boston? Or a UFO hovering in the as-of-yet non-light-polluted skies of New York City? Or  Sea monster swimming around Cape Cod?

Don’t get me wrong, Assassin’s Creed III is great, but these little paranormal gems I was so excited about turned out to be duds. Here’s the spoilers, kids. First of all, the sea monster turns out to be some guy’s rickety diving suit, used to scare other sailors. Fine, I can live with that. Anyone who reads this blog knows I’m not big on sea serpents and lake monsters anyways. The UFO? It turns out it’s not a flying saucer, but some reflective umbrella stuck in a tree. And again, I can live with that. What more could a Native American assassin in 1776 do to a UFO besides look at it? No, the one that hurt was Bigfoot. Turns out that old Sasquatch is a just a big hairy dude who shuns civilization and wants to be left alone. So he lives in a cave and dresses up like a monster to steal the provisions he needs. Now, a real Bigfoot in this game would have been a really interesting side mission. Granted, it may have taken away from the main storyline for some of us (i.e., me, because I’d just keep searching for Bigfoot), but an assassin, using his tracking skills to find Bigfoot, would have been a really inventive and interesting side mission.

I get that not everyone believes in the paranormal, and obviously the developers don’t, as they made everything paranormal in the game easily explainable. But the whole premise of the game is based on aliens from the past leaving super-advanced technology for us dumb humans so we can figure out the riddles of the universe and avoid out own eventual demise. Oh, and we have machines that let us sit in them and relive past lives. So yeah, I’m a bit disappointed that they rely so heavily on paranormal elements (the aforementioned over-the-top elements), but then make the more intriguing, vague and subtle mysteries so bland and unremarkable. But that being said, I’m still glad they were in the game, because they were still fun. Hunting for the paranormal usually leads to rational, mundane explanations anyway, so I gues in reality, I got my wish for a more realistic paranormal video game experience after all.

I just started a mission about a ghost story involving a haunted lighthouse. Hopefully this one has some real thrills. And, maybe like Red Dead Redemption, there will be some future downloadable content with some more interesting paranormal elements. Hintedy hint hint, Ubisoft.

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