Games That Incorporate Real World Ideologies And Religions
For the longest time gaming has been about fantasy. Since Space Invaders where you fly around a spaceship and shoot aliens, gaming tries to detach from reality and allow you to experience different worlds, much different than our own. As a person that likes to detach from reality, this is fantastic to me. Reality is boring and I’d rather run around a medieval landscape slaying dragons and killing trolls than be stuck in lecture halls and banal conversations. But what happens when gaming gets influenced by our reality? Specifically religion and ideologies.
The stand out example of a game that uses religious themes is Dante’s Inferno. The game has a lot of religious undertones, specifically of Christianity. While it is rather fantasy orientated, with the whole killing Death with his own scythe bit and all, it is still somewhat grounded by the religious influences. This was extremely fascinating to me, even as an atheist. I liked the lore and interesting events that occur within the Christian context. It took an idea from our own world and made it a playable environment.
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Then you get games such as Smite that have influences from a variety of religions and that directly influences gameplay. The game has beings from the Hindu, Chinese, Mayan religions as well as a few mythological beings. The attention to detail that the developers went through was great with the attacks of the characters corresponding with the lore involved in them.
Greek mythology has also been a favourite theme within game development. There’s a relatively unknown game called Rise of the Argonauts that I really enjoyed. Well, the combat and visuals were rather shitty and it’s a B-grade game at best, but the part that kept me captivated throughout the whole experience was the rich mythology that it incorporated. It was extremely well done to the point where it can be considered kind of educational and I learned some interesting things about Greek mythology from this game alone.
Then we get the big one. Norse mythology. God of War is the obvious choice for this one because the whole premise of the game is based on the Norse gods and lore. As a fan of Viking Metal, Norse mythology has always been an extremely interesting topic to me. Ragnarok, Hel (the freezing version of Hell), Valhalla and all that Amon Amarth worthy things. I think God of War and games such as Too Human has taught us so much about the rich mythology that we can probably write a test on it and pass. It also had an influence on games such as Skyrim where the Nords can be seen as Vikings of some sort and the whole freezing Scandinavian landscape.
Ideologies have also invaded our games. Modern shooters, as much as we hate them, are rich with ideologies if you take a closer look. Communism, extremism, the whole Nazi thing that was popular for a long time and so much more. I think I’ve learned more of various ideologies from terrorist gungho shooters than I have in history class.
The Assassin’s Creed games have been rich with ideologies and religious undertones and that’s one of the main reasons why I like it so much. Even the widely hated Assassin’s Creed 3 was still fascinating to me because of the whole American revolution backstory. It’s great to be able to learn about all of these real world events while still having fun within it.
But the franchise that stands out the most in terms of both religious and ideological influences has to be the BioShock franchise. It’s just dripping with influences and BioShock Infinite in particular went full out with its religious undertones with quotes from the Bible and rather controversial ideas. I love that because it required me to think and learn about the world around me while being captivated from the game’s plot and events.
Gaming has certainly grown up from the fantasy realm that it was so obsessed with when it began and it has started to take all of these influences from our world and make them their own. What do you think of gaming’s incorporation with the real world?