Mythologies as we understand it is the study of myth and mythos. Many cultures have their own mythology, from the Greeks and Romans who share similar mythologies, to Ancient Babylon and Egypt. Mythology influences nearly every aspect of our lives. It can be found on our day to day currency, to the way companies present themselves with their logos and iconography. It comes as no surprise then, that the fastest growing form of the entertainment industry has deep roots in mythology.
Some of the earliest games are built on and around mythologies. The Battle of Olympus is a 1988 side-scrolling action adventure game for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The plot of the game revolves around a Greek named Orpheus. His love, Helene, was poisoned by a snake and died. Later Orpheus learns that Helene was actually taken by Hades, god of the underworld, to become his bride. Upon hearing this, Orpheus begins his journey to save Helene. The pretext of Orpheus's quest is the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. Elements of the quest are drawn from the stories of Heracles, Theseus and Perseus. Many characters, enemies, locations, and items are also based on Greek mythology.
A more recent example of mythology showing its influence on the video game industry is the 2008 action-role-playing game Too Human. The game is a science-fictional futuristic retelling of Norse mythology that portrays the Æsir, the Norse gods, as cybernetically enhanced humans, tasked with protecting mankind from the onslaught of Loki's army of machines. The player takes the role of the Norse god Baldur, who is less cybernetic than the other gods, thus being "too human".
Mythology’s influence on games runs the gamut, from role-playing games to first-person shooters. Yet, mythology’s greatest influence to video games isn’t on when, or where, or who these games focus, but on how the creators use mythology to craft intricate stories which in turn spawn mythos of their own.
The franchise Assassin’s Creed, a historical fiction action-adventure series uses several mythological elements from Roman, Christian, Native American, and even Arabic cultures. The mythos revolves around the struggle between two ancient secret societies; the Assassins and Knights Templar and their indirect relation to a race of beings called ‘The Ones Who Came Before’ and their highly advanced technology. The beings take their names from Roman Gods and Goddesses, the three most prominent being Jupiter, Minerva and Juno. Lost technology from the ancient civilization is termed ‘Pieces of Eden’ and these relics take the form of Orbs, also referred to as ‘Apples’, and some are even linked to other historical items such as the Papal Staff, King Arthur’s sword Excalibur, the Shroud of Turin, and the Spear of Destiny which is said to have pierced the side of Christ during the Crucifixion. As the series evolves and new games are created for the franchise, it will be interesting to see how mythology plays a role in the over-all story....