Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Ancient Egypt & Gaming: Breaking Down the Legacy of Antiquity

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Staff Writer
Staff Writer
Africa Feeds Staff writers are group of African journalists focused on reporting news about the continent and the rest of the world.

If you’ve ever spent time trying to find your next favorite game, then chances are you’ve perused more than a few lists. Possibly even close to a dozen. Along the way, you may have noticed a few themes and motifs, from zombies to puzzles to dating. Or, if you’re looking at settings and design, you may have noticed a strong emphasis on Ancient Egypt.

Anyone looking closely at the influence of Egyptian art and architecture on game design will find a few immediate patterns. First, there’s an emphasis on Egyptian architecture and imagery. Second, there’s a callback to the spiritual beliefs of Ancient Egyptians. Third, there’s usually a riveting adventure involved—with a stunning backdrop in place.

The first two topics are often linked together, suggesting that one of the great allures of this period is its larger-than-life focus on the afterlife. This, unsurprisingly, can lead to more than a few unique adventures—especially considering the gaming industry likes to take a no-holds-barred, full-throttle approach.

Let’s explore some of the most popular titles to take on Ancient Egypt and what has made them stand out.

Online Slots: Familiar Romps

First, let’s cover one of the most expansive gaming sectors where you’ll find content on Ancient Egypt: the one involving online slots and it´s various forms. These focus on the themes we mentioned above, including motifs like architecture and metaphysical topics like the Afterlife. But, like every other topic on this list, there’s also a large focus on adventure.

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There are hits like John Hunter and the Book of Tut, along with Rich Wilde and the Book of Dead. Both include adventure themes on par with Indiana Jones plots. Others, like Ramses Book and Book of Madness, are focused on the ancient pantheon of gods and goddesses. These are all designed to touch on the familiar and exciting themes related to action-adventure in Ancient Egypt.

Assassin’s Creed: Origins

Let’s jump from the most casual Ancient Egypt-inspired games to the most involved. The Assassin’s Creed franchise takes on the heaviest topics in history, transporting gamers into the past and tasking them with stealth-based missions. Its Egyptian edition is one of its most beloved.

As players start out, they’re treated to some of the most realistic and expansive depictions of Ancient Egyptian architecture, both in terms of cities and rural outposts. They’ll also find themselves up close and personal with mythological beings from the past. While it might sound like any other highly dramatized version of Ancient Egypt, this video game release was so realistic that modern professors of Egyptology use it to educate students.

Civ V

Just like the Assassin’s Creed franchise, Sid Meier’s Civilization series is long-running and popular worldwide. The series tasks players with building a civilization that is strong enough to turn into an empire—and possibly take over the world. The focus is on hard strategy and tactics, from building resources to establishing diplomatic ties.

In Civ V, players step into the shoes of the great Rameses. Throughout the game, they must make decisions related to how to grow their civilization, which includes historically accurate elements like creating burial tombs and waging war using war chariots. This lets players actually step into the shoes of an ancient ruler. 

Nefertari: Journey to Eternity

Casual games like slots let players enjoy all the more thrilling elements of Ancient Egyptian mythology and culture. However, Nefertari: Journey to Eternity is more focused on exploration—literally. This game is powered by VR, taking players straight into the tombs of Nefertari.

Billed as an experience ‘3,000 years in the making’, this game transports players into an ancient tomb where they’re taken through room after room. Along the journey, they learn about the art, history, and mythology of Nefertari, her tomb, and Ancient Egypt through a series of interactive activities. This makes it both casual and highly accurate, treating non-gamers to a unique and memorable experience.

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