Thursday, March 29, 2012

Medieval Video Games

Apparently, it is "medieval week" in The Sims Social, a Facebook-based game that is a spin-off of the original computer game that cost me many hours of my wayward youth. Click to enlarge any of the images in the illustrated review that follows.

There is, naturally, a fire-breathing dragon at the base of a rickety tower:

... and knights in shining armor sending people off on quests and offering to let them use their golden loos beforehand (because everyone knows that wealthy kings and knights would go off on adventures and bring back enough gold to cast all their indoor plumbing solid from the stuff).

There is even non-standard orthography:

...oh, and free snails (?!).

Perhaps that is because they're like little knights, running around in a suit of armor? No, surely it's because everyone knows that the middle ages was slimy, kind of gross, and hard. (I suspect that it's just too much to hope that this is actually a sly reference to medieval snail marginalia.)


I'm generally opposed to medieval kitsch, but somehow, medieval kitsch in video game form (Assassin's Creed, anyone?) kind of charms me. This, though, is taking me back to my original, unqualified position that medieval kitsch just isn't a good thing. It's not a clever enough satire for it to be really enjoyable, which is unfortunate. In fact, it's misleading entirely in that it's more like a send-up of Shrek than anything else. (Sorry, I know. Leave it to the specialists to analyze the fun out of everything.) There is actually a whole standalone Sims Medieval game which I bought for myself to play after my doctoral defense. I still haven't opened the package, because it turns out that after I filed my dissertation, the last thing I wanted to do was to spend more time at my computer. I have a sense from the reviews, though, that it'll be a more amusing thing altogether. Further bulletins as events warrant, as we say when there is breaking medieval news, and some real content, inshallah, as soon as I finish a book chapter for which I have a major deadline closing fast.

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