4 Historical Eras That Need Video Games
1: The Malian Empire
Where: Central/Western Africa
When: ~1230 to ~1600 C.E.
In the middle ages Mali was a powerful, extremely rich empire in north Central Africa between the rain forest and the Sarah Desert. How rich, you ask? The official currency was gold dust. GOLD DUST. In fact, when the 10th ruler of the empire, Prince Mansa Musa, made a pilgrimage to Mecca in the early 1300s, he accidentally sparked an economic catastrophe by spending so much gold that Egyptian and Arabian currencies were sharply devalued. Those economies wouldn’t recover for more than a decade. That, people, is how you roll like a boss.
The Malian empire existed at an important crossroads in the trade between the Muslim world and sub-Saharan africa, and managed to last about 400 years before finally being chipped off into various successor states. And they did this using a system of rivers and caravan routes while still managing to include HUGE swaths of nigh-impassable jungle in their territory.
Why It Needs Video Games
Imagine arabian princes and traders, pirates, slave traders, religious conflicts (between Islam and various African religions), not to mention diamonds, gold, and assorted other riches, all passing through Timbuktu (the capital city). And that’s not even mentioning the scary snakes like the dangerous Black Mamba, gorillas (presumably in the mist), and all the other stuff that makes Africa so awesome. And it all actually happened. How is this not already the setting for 50 different games? Because we suck at knowing about things that don’t involve panzers, katana, or togas, that’s why. Bad us! Bad!
And the game?
Unfortunately, getting people interested in playing a game set in a powerful yet surprisingly obscure historical era is going to prove a huge challenge. So we have no choice but to bring this thing full circle. Ubisoft is definitely going to continue the Assassin’s Creed series after part 3 makes them enough money to purchase the city of Montreal outright. So for part 4, our flashbacks take us to an assassin from Arabia sent to the court of Mansa Musa after Mansa Musa’s Pilgrimage. Thanks for getting on that, Ubisoft.
Note: We arbitrarily decided that a period’s implication due to a pivotal character being included in any of the Civilization series entires would not count against it, as that would rule out everything. Otherwise, for a period to qualify, it has to have been largely ignored – by which we mean it has not served as the setting for any game that could be verified with a reasonable search. Obviously, Game Fronters who speak other languages and can locate any relevant games in such languages are welcome to educate us in comments.