Plus Ultra: Legacy: Learning historical past by mashing buttons: when the instructor is a online game | Culture | EUROtoday

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At the age of 17, Diego Rodríguez-Ponga first dreamed of creating a online game in regards to the conquest of Mexico. Fifteen years later, the title is about to see the sunshine of day: Plus Ultra: Legacy, which recounts the conflict between Spanish and Mesoamerican explorers 5 centuries in the past. Although the story of the work is invented (the protagonist, Don Juan, is a Spanish explorer who arrives within the Veracruz of the conquest to arrest Hernán Cortés, whom the Crown sees as a traitor), it makes the a lot of the contextual prospects to elucidate the story. Mexican conquest, the struggles between the Aztecs and the Mexica, or the significance of figures much less recognized than Cortés or Moctezuma however equally essential, such because the Afro-Spanish Juan Garrido, or the soldier María de Estrada. “There are video games that teach a lot. That they taught me a lot when I was a student, in addition to reinforcing my love for history,” says Professor Alejandro Rodríguez de la Peña, professor of Medieval History on the CEU San Pablo University and author. Digital leisure apart, the launch of Legacy exemplifies one of many branches with essentially the most potential of this sort of leisure: disseminating historic classes by way of the recreation of the previous.

“Everything arises from the idea of ​​transmitting the love of history through a video game,” says Rodríguez-Ponga (Madrid, 31 years previous) about Legacy. The work, in two dimensions, mixes motion and exploration in what is named style metroidvania. “These types of games usually have an atmosphere of claustrophobia and darkness. I wanted to get away from that, because it doesn't do justice to the colorful Mexico that we wanted to narrate,” notes its creator. Games of this style, which don’t often have hyper-realistic graphics, make visible type essential. For Legacy, Rodríguez-Ponga and his staff have opted for an aesthetic just like clear-line comics, which pairs very effectively with the very colourful proposal they’ve developed. “Any game has to enter through the eyes,” says Rodríguez-Ponga, who could be very clear about his influences: Super Metroid, Machinarium, Hollow Kinght or Spanish Blaphemous.

These are his inventive references, as a result of the underlying theme (the union of Spain and Mexico) has touched him carefully since he was born: as a result of work of his dad and mom, his brother, Alfonso, was born in 1988 within the Mexican capital. Together (Alfonso directs the monetary half) they’re the soul of the sport growth firm: Póntica. After the pandemic, Rodríguez-Ponga started engaged on this mission, nearly obsessively, in his free time. He satisfied a handful of small traders, who allowed him to form the corporate till they made it official in 2021. For Legacy They have gotten concerned in a crowdfunding marketing campaign: they requested for 25,000 euros they usually have far exceeded 130%. New ones will be capable to be added to the six everlasting staff within the firm, now that the sport is assured.

A moment from the game 'Legacy'.
A second from the sport 'Legacy'.

One of essentially the most distinctive options of the sport is that will probably be translated into Nahuatl. “Tlascaltecas and Mexicas end up converting Nahuatl into the vehicular language of Mexico, which skyrockets during the time of the conquest,” says Rodrígez-Ponga. “Promoted by the Spanish, Nahuatl ends up having a printed grammar before English or German. When Mexico became independent, in 1821, 60% of the population spoke Nahuatl,” he provides. This translation is likely one of the greatest current examples of the union between leisure and historical past that may happen in a sport.

Misgivings within the academy

“In general, the academic world continues to turn its back on video games, they are stigmatized as mere leisure and not as a form of learning. It is forgotten that the leisure In the Western tradition it is an integral part of cultural life, as seen in the educational role of gymnastic activities in the classical world or chess and tournaments in the medieval world,” says Professor Rodríguez de la Peña.

“Sagas like Age of Empires o Assassin´s Creed, Although devoid of historical rigor in their narrative, they make a display of truthfulness in everything related to the setting of their settings. Constantinople or Florence Assassin´s Creed They are a good example of this. He Civilization by Sid Meier allows a person without much historical knowledge to understand the growth process of a civilization from its origins. But, above all, I value some strategy video games that are so well documented and executed that they are a valuable instrument for learning history, geopolitics or military tactics,” he explains. “All the games from the Paradox factory are extraordinary, but they deserve special mention European y Crusader Kings for the richness of its interface and the rigor of its historical setting.”

Recreation of the streets of 9th century Baghdad in 'Assassin's Creed: Mirage'.
Recreation of the streets of ninth century Baghdad in 'Assassin's Creed: Mirage'.

To the classics that for many years have fed gamers with historic classes, in recent times video games have been added that handled particular moments with nice precision: feudal Japan (Rise of the Roninto the saga Shogun, Ghost of Tsushima), medieval Europe (Kingdom Come), World War I (Valiant Hearts) or classical Rome (the saga Caesar). Many of those video games don’t make a really correct historic reconstruction by probability, however it’s more and more frequent for groups so as to add historians to their squads to advise when adjusting to the previous. By funds and scale, the saga of Assassin’s Creed (with video games primarily based on historic Egypt, England attacked by Vikings, the Florentine Renaissance, historic Greece or ninth century Baghdad) is among the many most notable.

Bantu mythology

“All my life I have liked games. Even in my work as an actor, I have always taken some reference from them,” says Abubakar Salim (Hertfordshire, 31 years previous), a British performer of Kenyan descent. Salim labored as an actor in Assassins Creed Origins and for that he was nominated for the Bafta. “Thanks to that nomination I got to know the industry behind the curtain, and it was there where my fascination with telling stories through games began.”

Image from 'Tales of Kenzera: ZAU'.
Image from 'Tales of Kenzera: ZAU'.

“I think video games and culture are already very united,” says Salim, creator of one of the crucial talked about works this yr: Tales of Kenzera: ZAU, a sport through which Bantu mythology is deepened and transmitted. “Bantu legends have the same purpose as Greek, Norse or Indian myths: to share stories that help us learn and grow as human beings. The difference, however, is that they cover a large number of different tribes, which means many different perspectives, so ultimately there are many lessons to be learned from them,” he says. Yeah Legacy It can be translated into Nahuatl, WIDE comply with that wager: it’s completely dubbed into Swahili.

“For me, it was important to reflect this in WIDE because they are the stories that my family, specifically my father, told me. Through my grandfather's stories I learned those of my ancestors. Also, when I worked on the series Raised By Wolves, I got to know another facet of South African storytelling and myths (we filmed in Cape Town). These stories are so powerful and rich, and so community-driven, that it was crucial to include them in the journey of WIDE”.

Languages, landscapes, cultures, architectures, city planning, tales. There are all types of video video games, after all, however an excellent a part of them characterize “an intellectual challenge for students,” within the phrases of Professor Rodríguez de la Peña. A kind of online game, a lot of them with a historic background, which might be “complex because they require time, attention and study” and that, deep down, exemplify a method of studying that can develop sooner or later. As the professor says: “The healthy part of the video game world will end up being part of the culture in its own right.” At the time.

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