Inspiration Corner - Greek Mythology


Now I'm going to start this blog by saying something a bit controversial; The Greek and Norse gods were the best gods. 

I'm sorry, it's just true.

A few months ago I started reading some of the tales from Greek and Norse mythology to my son. What's better than a bit of blood and vengeance before bedtime? It's what every 5 year old needs for a good nights sleep, right?......RIGHT?

Hmmm, ok, I take your point, BUT, one thing for sure is that the stories really are good, but for very different reasons. In today's blog I'm going to look at the tales from Greece, and why in particular they especially suit an adventure game like Röki. 

One villain you'll know is Medusa, the chick with the snakes hairdo and the 'turn you to stone' stare. You probably know that she was defeated by a mirror, or more specifically a shiny shield, but can you remember any more than that? Honestly, I'd forgotten the other details. I couldn't remember that the guy who killed her was Perseus. I definitely couldn't remember why he did it, and I'd never really thought of it in terms of game until I read it again recently. 

Benvenuto Cellini's 1545 bronze sculpture of Perseus

Benvenuto Cellini's 1545 bronze sculpture of Perseus

Let's give our memory a break and examine some of the 'facts' from the story:

  • Perseus is the son of a king Acrisius and his wife Danae.
  • Before he is born, Apollo tells Acrisius that one day his son will kill him, so he locks Danae in a tower to stop her having any children.
  • Unfortunately Danae is visited by a god, and has a baby (whoops!)
  • Acrisius is extremely annoyed, so he locks Danae and baby Perseus up in a trunk and puts it out to sea (as you do).
  • Perseus and Danae wash up on Seriphus, an island ruled by Polydectes.
  • Perseus grows up to become strong and pretty badass.
  • Meanwhile Polydectes takes a shine to Danae and plots a way of getting Perseus out of the picture.
  • In a fake wedding Polydectes demands that all guests bring a gift, knowing that Perseus cannot afford one. Instead, and to make up for his lack of gift, Perseus offers to get anything that the king asks of him.
  • Polydectes casually asks for the head of Medusa, pretty much condemning Perseus to death.

DUN, DUN, DER! Now already in the story, we've established two bad guys for Perseus to overthrow in order to save his mother. We've had Perseus growing up - cue training montage. We also have a seemingly impossible quest for him to complete. Let's continue:

  • Perseus doesn't know what to do, so he starts exploring (yep, the game map has opened up at this point).
  • He can't find the Gorgon's layer, but he does meet Hermes, who is in fact his half brother, as their father is none other than Zeus (turns out Zeus is a bit of a man about town).
  • After Perseus discovers this (through a dialogue puzzle no doubt) Hermes gives him some pretty sweet flying sandles, and a badass sickle that some dude used to kill someone else. Nice work Perseus.
  • Next up, after some more exploration, he meets his sister Athena. She gives him a shield, which Perseus can use to avoid Medusa's glare. She also gives him a hint of where to go next (basically the game map just unlocked an extra bit).
  • So Perseus goes to Grenae where there are 3 women who share an eye between them. They know where some more swag is which can help Perseus. He eventually figures out that he has to grab their eye to blackmail them into revealing where the next magic items are.
  • He then visits the Nymphs in the north to get a cap of darkness and a magic bag.... 

Let's break for a second. At this point Perseus's inventory list is starting to fill up. He also knows where to go to defeat Medusa, but needs to figure out how to combine or use his items. Classic Adventure game stuff right there.

  • So, to cut a long story short, he uses the cape to become invisible and the sickle to chop off Medusa's head, before placing it in the magic bag. He does all this using the shield so he doesn't get turned to stone. He also wakes Medusa's sisters, who are pretty miffed, but is able to escape quickly using the winged sandles. Not bad at all!
  • On his way back to Seriphus he has a bunch of adventures, some using his new Medusa's head item. These are a chance for him to level up and practise using the head. For example, he manages to rescue a woman called Andromeda by turning a monster to stone. She's understandably grateful and marries him in return.
  • Before they get home, they make one last stop on Larisa, where Perseus takes part in a games tournament. He accidentally kills an old man by hitting him on the head with a discus - and guess what - the old man is his dad, Acrisius - crazy right? The prophecy was true! Anyway that's one bad guy defeated! 
  • Finally they return home to discover that His mother had been taken as the King's handmaiden. WTF?! thinks Perseus and storms the palace. He tells all of his friends to shield their eyes, before whipping out Medusa's head and turning the King and everyone else into stone. Yesssss! Game Completed!
François Lemoyne, Perseus and Andromeda, 1723

François Lemoyne, Perseus and Andromeda, 1723

Now Perseus and Andomeda go on to have a good life. They also have a son called Hercules, who later gets his own part in a Disney movie. After their death, they are turned to stars so that they can forever be immortalised in the night sky - now there's something to aim for! Joking aside though, there's a lot of really good stuff in the story; there are puzzles to solve and objects to discover, there are plenty of bad guys and there's a cool game world to explore with lots of side missions to add variety.  The structure of this and a lot of stories from Greek mythology are really informative in terms of their pacing and excitement. (Odysseus and his return home from Troy is another good one to check out). We may not take anything directly from these for Röki, but they're great to have in the background silently informing other ideas. Everything you come up with is probably subconsciously spawned from another thought or memory, so the more cool stuff you can cram into your brain, the better!

Until next time,

Tom & Alex

Tom Jones