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Politics

Who Needs Reality? Video Game Makes Virtual Past Greece

Video games can be about anything, anytime, anywhere, so why not about mythological figures in ancient Greece?

Apotheon is a full-length animated video game that brings ancient Greece to life. It was recently released through Steam by Alientrap for PC and PS4.

“Apotheon is a gorgeous interpretation of the black-figure Greek pottery style of the 6th to 4th centuries BCE. As the intrepid Nikandros, you’re on a one-man quest against Zeus, who has left humanity to rot. Teaming up with Hera, who is unhappy as usual with Zeus’s philandering, you battle your way through the Olympians, from Apollo with his dance party to Poseidon in a wrathful sea. Mostly it’s a standard progression in each level from small tasks to killing a “boss” with whatever xiphos or doru you have handy. In the most beautiful sequence, and the best to grasp the twists of fate entwined in Greek mythology, you first chase Artemis disguised as a deer through a forest, then later have to flee her bow when transformed into prey yourself,” according to hyperallergic.com.

It’s a bloody game, but the ancient world was a violent place. The reviewer for hyperallergic.com writes “Most of the play of Apotheon is basically kill-kill-kill, and the endless slaughter can be gleefully gruesome, with heads flying and animated blood sometimes spilling down the stairs. This is ancient Greece, after all, so propriety is not to be expected. More variation in gameplay would have been an exciting way to break up the action, though. Perhaps some chariot competitions, bacchanalian drinking challenges, foot races, or other spectacles depicted on the historic vases might have made for a welcome break from the bloodshed. Nevertheless, the game is strikingly vivid from start to finish. There’s an impressive depth to the hues of ochre, green, and gold through which Nikandros plunges as you encounter poor Daphne transformed into a laurel tree in Apollo’s garden, or fall beneath the giant club of the cyclops Brontes. It’s not an educational game on classical art by any means, but it is notable for successfully embracing an ancient aesthetic and reinterpreting it centuries later in an entirely modern medium.”

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