Game Studies: on Communication Perspective 

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In the study of communication, games are rarely included in the radar of studies considered important. In the past, gaming was just a useless that was done in spare time. But now, the face of the game has changed. Hundreds or even thousands of games are produced every month. Even games have become a business field that generates billions of rupiahs. 

Some of these reasons motivated Andi M. Rafli Manggabarani to research games to be researched as the ultimate task of completing his undergraduate studies in communication science at UII. The results of his research were then responded to positively by the Center for Alternative Media Studies and Documentation (PSDMA) of Nadim Communication Studies, Islamic University of Indonesia (UII) in a discussion. The discussion on October 21, 2022, was moderated by Latifika Gupita, a UII communication student. 

The research conducted by Andi was entitled “Agonistic Relationship in Single-Player Game and the construction of Vilain in Video Game Narrative multimodal proceduralist analysis of Assassin’s Creed III.”

Why did Andi research this? The development of the video game discourse was very rapid in the early 90s and early 2000s, starting to research and analyze games. There was even the first gaming conference in the 2000s. “Unfortunately, the reality is different in Indonesia. Research on games is quiet in Indonesia. Even though games are big business now,” said Andi.

Game studies, said Andi, are interdisciplinary studies. That is, the game can be viewed from various perspectives. It can be viewed from various elements. Such as the program, artistic, visual, narrative, musical, and others. “In the past, gaming was seen as leisure and recreation. Even now, it has been recognized as a sport,” said Andi. 

Andi explained that the game studies that had been analyzed so far, on average, the rest revolved around the depiction of women in video games and several similar ones. Even though the game has other elements that can be said to be unique. For example, the game design itself. “In fact, the elements of this research have not appeared much. This game has its own plot and all kinds of elements (game design), but this is what distinguishes games from movies, books, and others,” said Andi rigidly. 

“The game I chose to discuss was Assassin’s Creed III. This game series is very identical, always packaging the game in the concept of history in all its games,” he said. Andi explained that the game developer, Ubisoft, always consults with historians so that the built games can provide the most accurate picture possible of the setting (place) and historical context. This game has also sold 155 million copies as of October 2020. 

This game tells the story of two secret organizations named Assassin and Templar. The game developer takes the background and historical context of the American revolution that wants to be independent of Britain. Both Templar and Assassin, These two organizations exist to lead human civilization to peace, prosperity, and technological and intellectual progress.

However, both have different approaches to achieving their goals. Assassins believe that humans can progress in an atmosphere of civilization that is full of freedom. While Templar thinks that humans need to be guided and governed. The Templars admitted that they were the most worthy of arranging this. In this video game, the Templar represents a villain (the evil party).

Andi’s research aims to uncover how villains (evil characters and concepts) are built from game design and narrative elements in this game. Game developers image the Templars and values ​​that they believe are considered evil. Andi’s research also wants to reveal what values ​​are considered evil by the Ubisoft game developer and, lastly, what makes someone a ‘villain.’

This question stems from Andi’s assumption why Templars and Assassins are imaged differently even though they have the same goal: prosperity and peace.

More details can be seen on the IKONISIA TV channel https://youtu.be/ax4I8AVVdYA.