Let’s Play the Boston Tea Party – Exemplary Analysis of Historical Events in Digital Games

Daniel Giere (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich)

Digital games constitute a new form of presenting history: With unprecedented intensity, users are taking part in the game-world through active participation. This creates an individually staged, seemingly historical situation in which the plausibility-requirements can exceed the level of classical historical narration.1 The crucial aspect is choosing which perspective is applied to a specific historical representation; the focus must be on the user’s options for action, and their influence within the entire game-world. Other approaches are required when, for example, only a particular episode is to be investigated. This research shows how the analytical framework developed by Adam Chapman facilitates analyzing historical events represented in game-worlds (Chapman, Digital 59-172). The depiction of the Boston Tea Party in Assassin’s Creed III provides an exemplary analysis, which compares relevant historiography. It will ultimately be concluded that the Sons of Liberty would not have been able to historicize the Boston Tea Party as a glorifying revolutionary act, if, as the game imagines it, dozens of British soldiers had been killed (Berg 14-15; Hochgeschwender 111; Humphrey 59-82).

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