The Ancient Greeks gave the world many gifts that are still appreciated today, laying the foundations for concepts such as democracy, philosophy, and geometry. Admittedly, that last one may be somewhat less appreciated by anyone whose math teacher had an unnatural love of handing out homework. The Ancient Greeks also invented the first alarm clocks, so you’ve got them to thank for helping you to get up for work every morning…
While the Ancient Greeks have given us plenty of tangible inventions and theories that are still practiced today, their mythology is another thing that retains a massive hold on modern culture.
One timely example of how Greek mythology continues to influence contemporary media comes in the shape of Supergiant Games’ Hades, with this role-playing video game launching on Windows, Mac, and Nintendo Switch in September 2020. While early-access players have been enjoying Hades since December 2018, everyone is now able to finally get stuck into this roguelike game. The game is true to Greek mythology, utilizing characters, locations, and themes from the ancient religion.
Players take the role of Zagreus, son of Hades, as they try to battle past enemies in a series of rooms. Those rooms constitute the pathway from the Underworld to the hallowed Mount Olympus, as Zagreus isn’t too fond of his father and wishes to escape to a more peaceful life with the other Olympians. Given that Hades isn’t exactly renowned for his caring personality, what with being god of the Underworld and all that, you can understand Zagreus’ desire to do whatever it takes to get away.
Zagreus can receive help in certain rooms from famous occupants of the Underworld. This includes Sisyphus, the king who was forced to roll a boulder up the same hill for all of eternity. Supergiant have created accurate sections of the Underworld to differentiate the various levels of Hades, such as Tartarus and Elysium. Critics have been effusive in their praise of Supergiant’s work, with GameSpot awarding the title a score of 9/10 and praising the game’s well-developed worlds.
Gaming’s love of Greece
The phrase “it’s all Greek to me” represents the idea that something is hard to understand, but it’s not difficult at all to comprehend why so many different areas of the gaming industry turn to Ancient Greece for inspiration. The long-running God of War gaming franchise is a good example of the appeal of Ancient Greece, with the series’ narrative following the Spartan protagonist Kratos as he seeks vengeance against the gods. Zeus, Ares, and Persephone all come into conflict with Kratos in various instalments, while Hades is a major villain in 2010’s God of War III.
We’re happy to announce that God of War (2018) and God of War III Remastered will be playable on day one via backwards compatibility on the #PS5 ! More info here: https://t.co/rg93TEWJHupic.twitter.com/o00x0B4bjr— Santa Monica Studio Is Hiring (@SonySantaMonica) October 10, 2020
Hades takes center stage again in Yggdrasil Gaming’s Hades Gigablox, which sees the god of the Underworld encounter a series of classic Greek monsters as symbols on the six reels. This is far from being the only example of Hades-inspired releases among the real money slots featured at online casinos; Mazooma’s Haul of Hades, Microgaming’s Hot as Hades, and Toptrend Gaming’s Zeus vs Hades all demonstrate the allure that Hades still holds for pop culture today. Zeus and Hades also star together in Ensemble Studios’ real-time strategy game Age of Mythology. The two, along with Poseidon, are the major gods available to the Greek civilization in the game’s first age, with each god unlocking certain units, heroes, and technologies to the player.
The legacy of Ancient Greece can also be observed in the mobile gaming industry, courtesy of apps like Immortal City. This game allows players to build legendary cities, travel on adventures with iconic Greek heroes, and assist Greek gods and goddesses with missions. The popularity of Ancient Greece has reached every corner of the gaming world, from console franchises to online slots and from strategy games to mobile apps. With the release of Hades, there is now an Ancient Greek game to scratch the itch of fans of the roguelike genre.
The gaming community definitely aren’t weary of Greek games, given that Hades generated around 300,000 sales in just a handful of days following its official release. When combined with early-release stats, that takes Hades‘ sales beyond the one million mark. It will be interesting to see if Hades will lead to sequels and spin-offs. Given the success of Hades and gamers’ love of Ancient Greece, there will surely be a demand for it.