Black Flag: Pirate History and Video Gaming

Pirate mania continues.  Following the creation of Talk Like a Pirate Day and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, the Assassin’s Creed video games franchise has now shifted into the piracy business.


Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag is the latest installment of this popular video game series. Set around in the early modern Caribbean in 1715, the video game focuses on

According to the review in the New York Times, “The pirate adventure Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is nearly as long and almost as beautiful as an actual vacation to the tropics.”

The review explains that “virtual travelers may explore a period-precise Havana and Kingston, Jamaica; visit Nassau, the Bahamas, and Tulum, Mexico; and sail to dozens of islands. They may see churches, slip through plantations, kill British and Spanish authorities (to a pirate, they’re all bad) and take to the high seas to plunder a galleon, harpoon a whale or follow a treasure map to a buried chest.”

The reviewer raves that: “No moment in this huge game is more satisfying than the successful sinking, on a stormy sea, of a convoy led by a massive British man-of-war. It’s fun to be a pirate.”


The game apparently offers a stunning visual setting that effectively reconstructs the look of the early eighteenth-century Caribbean.  But, the reviewer points out, “Assassin’s Creed games have long mixed their historical fiction with some Dan Brown-style “Da Vinci Code” paranoia.”


Northern Illinois University students in HIST 111 Western Civilization, 1500-1815 will be interested in this story, since we are discussing the slave trade and piracy in the early modern Atlantic world.

The New York Times reviews Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, which has just been released.

This entry was posted in Atlantic World, Digital Humanities, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, Empires and Imperialism, European History, History in the Media, History of Violence, Information Management, Piracy, War, Culture, and Society, Warfare in the Early Modern World. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.