History provides more than valuable life lessons. It’s a source of inspiration and entertainment, something which the digital age is always hungry for. Video game developers regularly draw on mythology, popular or obscure, to add some depth and flair to their titles. The Celts, like the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians, have contributed their fair share of ideas to the gaming market. A varied and imaginative selection of Celtic-themed titles exist for gamers to enjoy.
The best such game this genre has to offer is Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. It mixes Celtic and Scandinavian culture and folklore to stunning effect, while disturbing players by putting them in the protagonist’s shoes as she ventures to the Viking’s Land of the Dead to reclaim her murdered lover’s soul. Ninja Theory made a profound impact on the gaming world when it released this title in 2017, highlighting its relevance to mental health issues. Not for the faint-hearted, Senua’s dark journey through battles, puzzles and madness is available across PC and console platforms.
Game Republic developed another successful video game that immerses you in Celtic mythology via vivid graphics and an intensely magical storyline. Folklore (2007) enables players to choose between its two main characters, Ellen and Keats, who venture from a small Irish village into the dark and mysterious Netherworld, searching for answers to a 17-year-old mystery. Although only available on PS3, its producers’ efforts in merging modern Japanese visuals with Irish legends and pure fantasy are certainly worthy of appreciation.
Among older and perhaps less visually impressive examples than the games already mentioned is Celtic Kings: Rage of War (2002), solely for PC. Set within the Gallic Wars, you can either play as the conquering Roman Empire or as Gaul, fighting against it. In addition to high-quality 2D graphics and the methodical excitement typical of strategy titles, Haemimont Games included an extra fun feature: adventure mode, which follows a warrior by the name of Larax as he battles warring tribes after the death of his wife. Death and tragedy really are common Celtic themes.
Celtic mythology also resonates with the concept of good fortune, so it’s hardly surprising that games of chance are often linked to it. Visitors coming to play casino slots on Paddy Power Casino come across games like Gaelic Luck and Land of Gold, both courtesy of Playtech. Leprechauns, four-leaf clovers, and pots of gold complete the themed package, their performance tailored for the high definition demands of PCs, tablets and smartphones. Casino games may be of a different calibre to RPGs, but they all use such marketable materials to develop appealing products.
Fun can be found or invented in many different places, but creators of video games always turn to tales of old for a pinch of historical intrigue or to produce something completely unique yet familiar and meaningful. Atmospheric experiences and antique references are both available when exploring Celtic roots, which gamers of a wide range of genres are happy to support and learn from.