Sometimes a moment in a game can make your day. Playing Assassin's Creed 3 I had such a moment.
Racing my way to an objective I noticed some orphans and fully intended to ignore them.
Something stopped me. Unlike previous Assassins Creed nuisances, like beggars or crazy men, they didn't get in my way.
Perplexed, I chose to perform a few tricks to see how they reacted. I leapt between ledges and wall jumped back to their feet to see how they reacted.
They whooped, cheered and expressed they're amazement. So much so that when I threw a handful of coins they completely ignored them.
Eager to please my enthralled crowd I climbed to the top of a building. From my perch I could see and hear them cheer me on. I threw more coins and this time they lapped them up.
Hopping away towards my objective one orphan looked up at me. With wide adoring eyes he said ‘we won't forget this' and my stone cold assassin heart flickered with light for just one fleeting second.
It was a rare magical moment in gaming.
Many games try to achieve such interactivity with NPC's. In Fable 2 & 3 it was a significant mechanic. In Red Dead Redemption such moments served as a nice bridge between story arcs.
Whether it was performing a jig for a crowd or saving a trading cart from bandits these games tried hard to make you feel a connection to something otherwise insignificant.
However, Assassins Creed did something I haven't seen before. The interaction was so unique, so embedded and so in the moment it felt perfectly realised. It didn't break from the world the game had thrust me into. It made it feel more real.
Assassins Creed 3 isn't the huge leap forward we had all hoped for. It's a good game but not ground breaking. What it does it does well but it never sets the bar or pushes expectations beyond anything expected.
However, in this one brief moment I experienced something unexpected. I experienced something new, something so well-crafted it gave me hope. Hope that when consoles finally get around to supporting the capabilities and desires of what developers can achieve we are in for a whole new level of realisation and emanation of reality in pixel form.