Assassin’s Creed III and the Aesthetics of Disappointment


Using a case example of the cycle of prerelease, release, and post-release commentary, criticism and reviews of Assassin’s Creed III from June 2012-January 2013, this paper examines how video game players produce a “culture of history” about the game they play through their commitment to commentary and critique mainly found in user reviews in gaming enthusiast press websites. This paper examines how an aesthetic of disappointment generates a comparative sense of gamers’ cultural present by framing aspects that should have been improved upon from the series’ past as well as in terms of expectations for the future of gaming. This paper concludes by suggesting that part of the pleasure of contemporary gaming for many self-identified “core” gamers is being able to both play games and aesthetically discuss the game being played as part of a culture of history with other gamers, a form of paidiaic play for “gaming capital”.