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Lost In Translation : Total War

Cart: Total War (Series)
Cab: PC
Coin: The Creative Assembly 

There are things in life that I admire, but just don’t understand.

Particle physics, for example. Haute coutoure, for another. Antiques, Pink Floyd and Rugby all make the list. Oh – and Creative Assembly’s Total War series.

You see, I have this old family friend who’s a bit of a father-figure to me, so I’m generally enthralled by anything that he’s interested in. Everything except his passion for Napoleonic warfare. This cat has hand-painted hundreds of tiny figures and crafted detailed sets with which he re-enacts famous battles from the era. The time and dedication that he’s given to decorating these figures is simply mind-boggling – something made all the more remarkable by the fact that he’s completely blind in one eye and has a cataract in the other.

So whilst there’s no denying the passion and talent involved, the end-game has always bemused me. You can imagine, however, how pleased he was when the Total War series launched in 2000.

To clarify: this is a half-blind man painting buttons on inch-high figurines

To clarify: this is a half-blind man painting buttons on inch-high figurines

Now, I’ve sat and watched my friend play these games since the very first one. Sat and watched for hours. Even had the odd go. But I just don’t get it. At all. Completely and utterly lost in translation. I find it difficult to really criticise the games as they’re clearly designed for a hungry, niche market – they just leave me colder than last night’s takeaway.

I get the feeling that, rather like sports that simply don’t register an emotional response when you watch them, you really need to have had some background in the source material to begin with. Listening to my friend wax lyrical about the historical accuracies of the game of the technologies of the era is far more interesting to me than the game itself.

Which makes you wonder: what will happen in years to come when the old-guard has passed and the only thing that people have to cling to are the games themselves?

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Husband. Parent. Gamer. Go figure.

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  1. Give me Pikmin any day ­čÖé

  2. “the Total War series launched in 2004”

    Actually, the first Total War game, the original ‘Shogun:TW’, was released in 2000.

    Also, I’m an avid Total War fan, absolutely love these games, but I completely understand what you’re getting at. A lot of my friends have difficulty getting into these games, let alone understanding the history.

    • Yes, I had Shogun on the PC I think many moons ago. Has the series evolved much?

    • Good spot! I must admit that 2004 felt off when I was writing the article #poorresearch

      I want to like them so much, as I see the passion in my friend’s eyes when he’s playing. Hey ho.

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