Using qualitative comparative analysis, this article assesses how faithfully the reconstructive game models (RGMs) used in video games simulate historic cities. Employing Kevin Lynch’s concept of imageability, it looks in particular at similarities and differences between a 1775 map of Boston and the RGM of the city featured in Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed III. By comparing the construction of landmarks, paths, nodes, edges and districts within the game model to the historic conditions recorded on the map, it demonstrates that a feeling of verisimilitude is achieved not through complete accuracy but through specific combinations of sufficiently accurate historic elements. Based on these findings, it discusses the theoretical implications of designing RGMs and sheds light on the use of architectural heritage reconstitutions as an educational component in video games.
Catros, Aurélien and Leblanc, Maxime, “When Boston Isn’t Boston: Useful Lies of Reconstructive Game Models”, Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review (TDSR), VOLUME XXXII, # II, 2021, 23-37.