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The Top 7… Historical figures defamed by games

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4. Decius Brutus

You may know him as: The murderer of Julius Caesar (as portrayed in the weird, wonderfully gruesome Shadow of Rome) who framed hero Agrippa’s parents for the assassination, and then murdered all of his co-conspirators to ensure that the truth would never be revealed.

He’s also a leering bully who wears a lion pelt, delights in murder and waits until the hero has freed his condemned mother to kill her in front of him.

But in real life, he was: Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus, an accomplished Roman general and one of the co-conspirators who murdered Caesar. That much is true, and it sort of makes any attempts to say he was “defamed” ring a little hollow. However, there’s no indication he was the monster portrayed in Shadow of Rome. Hell, he isn’t even the Brutus most famously associated with the crime – that was Caesar’s nephew, Marcus Brutus (although Decimus was also a relative and reportedly close to Caesar).


Above: He’s probably in this picture somewhere 

Decimus also never went to any murderous lengths to hide his involvement from the public – he never had to. Caesar’s assassins, who were convinced they were killing a tyrant on the verge of turning their republic into an empire, carried out the murder in broad daylight. The following day, the Roman senate granted them amnesty in the name of keeping the peace.

While Decius died fighting Agrippa in the arena (in a version of Rome where public politics have the tone of pro-wrestling matches), Decimus spent the years following the assassination fleeing for his life, continually chased and attacked by the forces of Mark Antony. Finally, he deserted his own legions, and was eventually captured and executed by a Gallic chieftain, becoming the first of the conspirators to be killed.


Above: As far as we know, though, he never stabbed anyone’s mom in front of them and then laughed about it later 


3. Amakusa Shiro Tokisada

You may know him as: The central villain of the first Samurai Shodown, and the effeminate sorcerer-prophet of a dark and evil cult whose influence spread insidiously across Japan. Also, he had some kind of axe to grind with the Tokugawa shogunate.

He apparently redeemed himself in later Shodown games, after being split into good and evil halves, but by that point we’d forgotten to give a shit.

But in real life, he was: A teenage Christian revolutionary and martyr, called “heaven’s messenger” by his followers, who led the failed 17th-century Shimabara Rebellion against the shogunate. Sparked by overtaxation and state-led persecution of Christians (with the aim of stamping out foreign influences), the revolt culminated with a months-long siege at Hara Castle, during which the besieging Tokugawa forces actually had to call in assistance from their Dutch allies. After the castle was finally overrun, Amakusa was captured and beheaded, along with an estimated 37,000 supporters. The loss of life was so great that the Shimabara Peninsula and Amakusa Islands had to be resettled, and following the massacre Japanese Christianity was driven completely underground.


Above: One of several Amakusa statues erected around the islands after which he was named (Image by JoshBerglund) 

To be fair, Christianity wasn’t the “dark and evil” religion Amakusa spread in Samurai Shodown. According to the game’s backstory, his revenge-hungry spirit eventually made a resurrection pact with the dark god Ambrosia, whose gospel he then spread. And this particular characterization of Amakusa doesn’t even come from Samurai Shodown, really. If anything, it’s awfully similar to the way he was portrayed in the 1981 Japanese movie Makai Tensho, which seems to have been a font of inspiration for Samurai Shodown in general.


Above: It also starred Sonny Chiba as Jubei Yagyu, which is like badass squared

Here, Amakusa’s sudden evilness is a little more understandable; outraged by a god that would allow 37,000 of His faithful to be massacred, the reborn Amakusa pledges his soul to Hell so that he can take revenge, and Samurai Shodown seems to have followed the same line of reasoning.


Above: He’s also a bit less girly in this version

Probably that’s not the nicest way to portray Japan’s answer to Joan of Arc, but at least it gives Amakusa an understandable reason to turn to the dark side.

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61 comments

  • mothbanquet - November 2, 2013 5:19 a.m.

    'You French prick'... Still makes me chuckle to this day.
  • Forsvaine - September 18, 2011 8:33 p.m.

    Honestly, I can kind of see why Ford was demonized, because he was an anti-semite, right? As for Edison, I think it's only speculated.
  • Jamahl - March 19, 2011 3:33 a.m.

    Looking back at this, why was Jesus from AC2 not on this list? It basically says that he wore a peice of eden called the Shroud of Turin (as you may know from real life) and hypnotized his followers, and only when the templars took it from him was he killed.
  • psycho ninja 4 - September 16, 2011 7:16 p.m.

    Wait, Jesus was in the game? O_o
  • FFSamurai - August 20, 2010 6:31 a.m.

    Even though this has been commented on already I can't help but ask. Really, that's the version of Dante your going with? Not doing the whole "Super Metrosexual Trigger Happy Japanese" mercenary one instead? And then there's Virgil, the "Super Metrosexual, slash-happy Japanese" guy who represents the greek philosophy and guide to Dante in the divine comedy? These two are seriously less deserving of a spot than the "Master Chief"-i-fied version from a B-rated action slasher on your list? Aside from this, very nice list, especially of Nobunaga.
  • fattoler - August 19, 2010 12:13 a.m.

    Thomas Edison did not invent the lightbulb
  • RacoonHail - June 7, 2010 9:54 p.m.

    The history stuff is very well done. With all the mentions of people defamed by Assassin's Creed II (Spoiler's) I am surprised that there is no mention of Machiavelli being one of the good guys! I personally laughed my ass off when he first appeared as a member of the good guys. Read The Prince, and unless he is being sarcastic (which is actually possible) he is one bad dude.
  • SenatorPepper - June 7, 2010 2:37 p.m.

    This is a truly incredible piece of games journalology, and a perfect example of the sort of content GamesRadar offers that you can't find on those OTHER gaming website. Maybe it's just because I'm a history buff myself, but this article, for me, was a total RadarGasm. And happy belated birthday.
  • Darkwun - June 7, 2010 11:11 a.m.

    I love the fact Yasuke gets a mention, as I'm currently writing a book on him :D
  • Zeb364 - June 6, 2010 8:51 p.m.

    Great top seven. I like the touch of serious intelligent discussion, it provides a refreashing change of pace. A little variety never hurt anyone. The General Custer one was hilarious though. Never have to worry about the Gamesradar crew taking themselves too seriously.
  • BrushieTundra - June 4, 2010 4:31 a.m.

    Great article. I love history!
  • JohnnyBarnstorm - June 4, 2010 12:40 a.m.

    Oh man! Don't forget the Indian wrestler The Great Gama! He was immortalized in Shadow Hearts Covenant as a... uh... man who loved the company of other men. And to finish Joachim's side quest, you must... er... take him.
  • NightCrawler_358 - June 3, 2010 12:08 p.m.

    Dante wrote a stern poem? THE FIEND!
  • JenosIdanian - June 3, 2010 10:05 a.m.

    Wow, being burned while being hanged is not a pleasent way to go.
  • jhayen - June 2, 2010 11 p.m.

    For the people calling theemperor an idiot: Read your damn history, he didn', create the light bulb, the bulb was created long before. He just synthesized the first lasting filament. And AC is just incorporating the "what if" that has made so many religions before possible. Stop saying it's exetreme, it's fiction, like almost every other game out there.
  • Shrimpandwhitewine - June 2, 2010 7:03 a.m.

    I loved this top 7, I am quite fond of games and history. Great work Mikel.
  • InFeRnOg - June 1, 2010 4:25 p.m.

    What about Gregori Efivomich Rasputin? Does Shadow Hearts: Covenant, ring any bells? Or how about the film Hellboy?
  • JaptainAmerica - June 1, 2010 3:29 p.m.

    I've been Japanawikiparazed. Great stuff.
  • philipshaw - June 1, 2010 11:08 a.m.

    This was a very informative article

Showing 1-20 of 61 comments

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