Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 21, 2021

Hades Lasting Impressions

There has been much hype about one game in particular lately: Hades. Does this game warrant the hype?

I bought the physical edition of Hades on the Switch, dear reader. I didn’t finish it. But I did sink several days of time into it (10+ hours). How does the game fare?

First of all, I don’t think I’ve enjoyed any of Supergiant (or whatever the name of the company is) games. I’m not going to go into the reason why.

I actually like Hades. The game is very smartly made. If you like rogue type games, this is one to get. There are options in the game even if you don’t like rogue like games.

What I think elevates Hades beyond a ‘polished’ game is its use of classic mythology. Apparently, the developers realized that actual mythology is far more interesting and imaginative than any of their ‘creativity’! When people play Hades, they get an interest in the mythology and actually look it up! The game is exposing people to actual culture! Imagine that!

Why was Lord of the Rings so effective with the imagination?

“It is because,” says the reader, “that Tolkien was a smart guy.”

It is true that Tolkien was very smart. But there are other smart people. Why does Lord of the Rings succeed while other works do not?

A big reason why is that Tolkien was primarily interested in classic mythology, classic religions, classic views of the universe from the ancients. All this knowledge has been building by many, many people for thousands of years and the interesting stuff was filtered through time. Time is like a water filter that separates the boring stuff from interesting stuff. What gets filtered out is what we call ‘history’. It’s why history is filled with wars and assassinations and not ‘someone walks across the street’ type stuff.

Did you know that the purpose of ancient mythology to explain mathematical star charting? It’s true! But mathematical star charting is very boring as most math is. What people remember are the stories. Eventually, that is all we know.

The Bible is a supreme form of literature with many non-entertaining parts that probably should be edited out if read for literature. Do we need pages of genealogy or the Book of Leviticus? If it weren’t for Sola Scriptura, perhaps we wouldn’t have those more boring parts. We’d just have the more cool stuff from Adam and Eve, Moses, to Armageddon.

The point is that our imagination sucks compared to GENERATIONS of ancient knowledge of whatever culture of the past. The Hades developers were wise enough to realize that actual mythology is more interesting and exciting than their ‘creative passions’ could ever formulate.

In addition to this, playing the game of Hades is now not just playing a game. It is interacting with actual mythology. This gives the game a value edge that other games do not have!

Do you think other game developers will learn from this?

Of course not. They’ll go, “Time to focus on my creative passions, I am a genius!” and keep flooding the market with dreck.

I ask them, “Why did the classics become classic?”

“Because,” they reply, “they were first.”

No.

Where you see Donkey Kong, I see King Kong.

Where you see Super Mario Brothers, I see Alice in Wonderland.

Where you see Final Fantasy, I see Bahamurata.

Where you see WRPG, I see Lord of the Rings.

Where you see Metroid, I see Alien.

Where you see Contra, I see Rambo.

Where you see Starcraft, I see Aliens, Robotech, and a huge slab of Starship Troopers.

Great artists don’t create. Great artists STEAL.

What do they steal from? From the analog world. As industries and people become more and more digital, they lose the connection to the analog world. No more will there be game developers like Shigeru Miyamoto putting in his experience of going into a mountain and being surprised to find a lake into the Legend of Zelda. The new generations of game developers just create derivatives from prior works.

Could the first generation of game developers have been so great not because they were ‘first’ but because they were all raised in an analog world? Maybe. George Lucas made Star Wars with his memories of very old 1950s TV (the text scroll at the beginning) as well as the monomyth ideas of ancient tales. Curiously, as George Lucas went more digital, the less interesting Star Wars became.

“And then came the third trilogy with Disney…”

There is no such thing as a third Star Wars trilogy.


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