Assassin’s Creed does Athens

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Ancient Athens, with Parthenon atop Acropolis. (reconstruction by Juan Alverez de Lara)

Here is an eight-minute video on the reconstruction of ancient Athens by game-maker Ubisoft for the latest episode (if that’s what it’s called) of Assassin’s Creed. Previous episodes have invited us into highly realistic reconstructions of Renaissance Venice and Florence and of London during the Industrial Revolution. (See my pair of October 2015 posts “Gaming the Renaissance” and “Into London’s age of grit.”) There have been eleven games in the series thus far since 2007. Such videos may perhaps be the 21st century versions of the historical novels upon which I was weaned. My takeaway on the phenomenon is from the first of my 2015 posts:

Millions of young people play these video games. The games’ allure relies at least in part on exciting scenery within which players confront enemies in situations programmed to reflect historical reality. Players see the beautiful historical architecture on display in 3D and may come, willy-nilly, to expect today’s reality to better reflect the beauty that they have “experienced,” and that classicists believe should inspire the built environment. This is popular culture, the masses putting their money where their mouth is and where their tastes are. Could it be that the beauty of architecture can also battle back into elite culture – and our cities and towns – as well?

[The image above is not from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey but a reconstruction of the Acropolis by Juan Alvarez de Lara at Ubisoft has figured out a way to prevent the publication of screenshots from videos of their games or of videos about their games. The images I was planning to post are from the videos to which I have linked.]

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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