From favorites of us nerds to absurdly popular movie stars, superheroes have exploded into the mainstream. Movies drawn from the biggest superhero comic publishers, Marvel, and DC, generate billions at the box office. Just about everyone who knows anything about film knows the names Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and Black Widow. Many Marvel comic adaptations for the big screen have proven their popularity in recent years when broadcasters have been willing to put on marathons of them in cinemas.
Slowly but surely, the superheroes first found in comics have become what is essentially modern mythology, played out through books and on-screen as opposed to being engraved on stone walls like the mythologies of ancient civilizations. Now movies are reaching new heights, gaming – the most modern form of entertainment – is favoring superheroes again.
While the pop-culture aspects certainly play into this new surge of superhero movies, is it, in fact, just a continuation of the ever-lasting trend of fascination with the mythological?
Superheroes booming back into gaming
The older gaming consoles, before mobile gaming was able to take off, featured a fair few superhero titles in the days when Spider-Man was just about the only mainstream superhero. After movie-themed video games struggled to meet the expected level of quality demanded, it was assumed that games that run alongside the massive superhero movies would never happen. While this remains true to an extent, their successes have inspired more developers to explore the modern mythos with current gaming tech at hand.
On consoles, Marvel’s Spider-Man proved to be one of the PlayStation 4’s best-selling games, breaking records for copies sold at release. The success of Spider-Man has been followed recently by a much broader superhero game, with Marvel’s Avengers hitting consoles, featuring Iron Man, Ms. Marvel, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, and Captain America, with many more on the way. Being modern gaming, however, there’s also a plethora of mobile app superhero games, such as Marvel: Future Fight and DC’s Injustice: Gods Among Us.
Each of the games allows fans of the movies to take a more hands-on approach to experience the powers shown on screen, bringing the myths to life.
Gaming’s storied obsession with mythology
The fact that gaming is now going full throttle into superhero titles follows the industry’s long trend of drawing from mythology. Of course, usually, it’s ancient mythologies that are used to inspire games.
Greek mythology-themed Titan Quest, originally released in 2006, is still popular today, being revived for the Android app market a few years ago. Online casino platforms around the world also see mythological themes still gaining instant popularity: amidst the many online casinos for Indian players, as an example, Norse mythology-themed titles often make the headlines. Players in that country can head to ComeOn, Pure Casino or Karamba to play Asgardian Stones, a game that harnesses the heroes of the ancient tales, such as Thor. Welcome bonuses and free spins are naturally enticing, but such games also draw players in with their modern takes on recognizable myths.
There is another franchise that has dipped into mobile and casino gaming that perfectly showcases the everlasting obsession with myth: Tomb Raider. Featuring Lara Croft, the Tomb Raider games have explored the mythologies and folklore of the Mayans, Egyptians, Celts, and Aztecs, as well as Hinduism. Tomb Raider has also incorporated the myths of China, Greece, and Japan, among others. Despite having run since 1996, the 20-plus title series continues to sell very well.
Game developers of all platforms have long drawn from mythologies, but now they have an even richer source of lore, with our modern mythological heroes being brought to life on the big screen.