Life's a game.

It's in the game.

Whilst one of my friends, Flavien, is cycling in Middle East to close a loop he started last year, I am cosily enjoying the present Santa Claus had the kindness to bring me last December: a shiny Playstation 3. I know, most of you will complain about a 30-something-year-old married guy still fooling around with a joystick in hands instead of doing sports or wandering the world.

To a certain extend, you are right... I should be more active, but with the new generation of consoles these physical and social activities are at reach from your sitting room. So why the hell would I want to get stuck in the Tube, hearing in loop that I shall mind the gap or keep my belongings at all time. Seriously, aren't we better at home?

The most recent consoles like the XBox or PS3 happen to be internet-connected devices which allow you to keep in touch with your community in some very engaging ways. So now when you play, you are no longer alone. I am sure that both Sony and Microsoft engineers were Liverpool fans to get the inspiration for this break-through. The innovative Wii by Nintendo has also broken another paradigm: you don't sit and play any more. With their movement recognition joypad, you now shake, throw, punch, slash... You even place your health at risk since some medical publications have already reported cases of Nintendinitis!

Ancient modernity.

The funny thing about the situation is that whilst the above-mentioned Flavien was crossing Israel for his trip, I was following his path. Well... Kind of. My console came indeed with this brilliant game by Ubisoft, Assassin's Creed. The pitch for this game is the following:
Jerusalem, 1191 AD.

The Third Crusade is tearing the Holy Land apart. You are an elite Assassin sent to stop the hostilities by suppressing the powers on both the Crusader and Saracen sides. But as you carry out your missions, a conspiracy begins to unfold. You find yourself tangled up in a conflict that threatens not only the Holy Land, but the entire world.

Now that is a scenario! Forget Mario, Pong or Tron. I was talking of new generation consoles, this is a new generation game. Not only is this game thrilling it is also rushing adrenaline in your veins, inducing historic facts in your brain, displaying beautiful cinematic sceneries in front of your eyes... So realistic that when Flavien was refering to some ancient ruins he rode by, I had the chance to see them in all their splendor.

Politically correct game.

This game is a great one, my enthusiasm must have betrayed me by now... But the reason why I have decided to write about it in this blog dedicated to cultural disparities lays in the dullest part of the game, before the gameplay even kicks off. As a matter of fact, a game that depicts an arab assassin who walks around the Middle East with sabre and knives to behead threatening opponents (fellow Arabs, French and English cruisaders, German templars...) can rapidly deviates to dodgy territories.

As an attempt to cool down any potentially offended ethnics, the developers have introduced the game with the following disclaimer:

This work of fiction was designed, developed, and produced by a multicultural team of various faiths and beliefs.
If they say so... But what is interesting to me is that they had to integrate that kind of disclaimer for a very fictional story. It cannot be seen as an allegory of any contemporary action, especially when you discover the hi-tech plot that goes around the central story-telling. But yet, I read that Iran had complained because of how the Persian people were depicted in the epic movie 300, so should we be surprised? If we were to follow such poorly enlightened examples what can we foresee? That the French police will ask for the same disclaimer before every Louis de Funes' Gendarme films? That the WSPA will impose a billboard reinsuring that no animal was hurt during the production of the latest Tom and Jerry cartoon? Seriously...

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