Special Topics In Gameology: Collectible classics: How Assassin’s Creed II accidentally questions art’s value

Special Topics In Gameology explores a specific corner of the gaming world in a miniseries of articles. The current theme is commerce, in which we examine games’ representation and use of business and trade.

“Okay first off why do I want to waste money on paintings? Do I get something for them?”

Assassin_X_Geth asked this question on the GameFAQs message boards in response to one of the many quests players can undertake in Assassin’s Creed II. Early in the game’s story, the hero, Ezio Auditore, takes refuge in his family’s estate, the Villa Auditore. He becomes its steward and works to rebuild the decrepit place back to respectability. This includes any number of civic projects: improving the banks, building guard barracks, opening a brothel, and yes, buying paintings for display at your manor house. Each of these improvements in turn increases the income your Villa generates, and …

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