Favorite 5: Video games for interdisciplinary research

April 12, 2012

Associate professor Magy Seif El-Nasr, who holds joint positions in the College of Computer and Information Science and College of Arts, Media and Design, teaches game design and interactive media — one of Northeastern’s fastest-growing interdisciplinary programs. But to design games, you need to be able to play them. And when El-Nasr does, she opts for ones with the most highly visual 3-D worlds and challenging quests. Her favorite? “Assassin’s Creed,” she said, “and that’s the one I’m best at.”

Assassin’s Creed Series
In this historical-fiction action-adventure game, modern-day Desmond Miles, who is descended from a line of assassins, uses a machine to relive memories of his ancestors — one assassin who lived during the Crusades; the other, in Renaissance Italy in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Combat, mayhem and love ensue.

Civilization Series
You are the leader of a civilization competing with other civilizations, starting from 4000 BC all the way to the near future. You strategically build and manage cities, work the land for food, trade, choose which technologies will benefit your empire, keep citizens happy and occasionally deal with marauding barbarians.

Prince of Persia Series
The games, which spawned a 2010 Disney movie, follow the adventures of an acrobatic prince as he travels through time combating evil forces, saving Persia and rescuing the princess, all the while completing difficult quests and solving puzzles to gain more power.

Children of Eden
The object of this musically and visually stunning game is to save the first child born in deep space from being destroyed by a virus. The young girl is asleep, and when a parasite is destroyed in each of the five levels, her memories are awakened one by one.

Enter the Nordic world of Skyrim, a massive landscape filled with forests, countrysides, mountains and creatures. The king has been assassinated and civil war threatens. In the fifth chapter of the Elder Scrolls, the evil dragon-god and his minions have returned, and the kingdom awaits the savior (that would be the player) who will fight for mankind.