In the chapter entitled “Reverence”, Bogost discusses how video games can reinforce a person’s respect for real-life structures, by including them in their narrative. Bogost’s example is the use of the Manchester Cathedral in Resistance: The Fall of Man, but there are numerous others. The Assassin’s Creed series in particular, uses a variety of historical figures, from da Vinci to Blackbeard throughout its story. Bogost focuses on how video games can demand respect for the historical structures included in the narrative, by using our respect for those figures to enhance the game’s story line. For instance, he thinks putting the Manchester Catherdral in Resistance, serves to reinforce the notion that the aliens are worthy of the players’ hatred, because the aliens’ destruction of the Cathedral shows their apathy to human achievement, and the player needs to revere the Cathedral, in order to feel this affect, for if a player does not properly respect the Manchester Cathedral he or she will not feel the proper loathing for the aliens disregard of the Cathedral’s well being, and so the video game’s narrative will not be as powerful for the player.
Using culturally significant figures in a narrative isn’t unique to video games. Movies in particular are found of destroying landmarks to show the gravity of a situation (“Independence Day” is probably still the cinematic standard for this.) But video games give a person a chance to interact with historical figures in a way that can’t be found in other narrative forms, because a player gets a chance to have a simulated causal impact on the figures themselves. Instead of reading about these historical figures, or seeing famous historical sights in highly controlled environments, video games give people a chance to feel having a degree of influence over places and people which hold such a high place in our tradition. This gives the player an sense of excitement and self-importance that can’t be found in other narrative forms. It is not just that a player gets to see the Manchester Cathedral, or meet George Washington, that makes their appearance important in a video game; the player gets the chance to be of service to these figures as well. This gives the player an sense of excitement and self-importance that can’t be found in other narrative forms. McGonigal talked about how video games can boost a player’s confidence, and meliorate their sense of their self by giving them special powers and epic missions to compete. It seems that the inclusion of historical figures functions in a similar way.