Play the Hero, or Play God: A Framework of Ergodic Characterization and Analysis of Greco-Roman Mythological Characters in Video Games. 01/11/2020 - 31/10/2024


Throughout history, artists have been captivated by the characters of classical mythology. As the youngest of the arts, one of the most lucrative contemporary entertainment industries and an influential socio-cultural force, video games are also inspired by the Greco-Roman gods and heroes and allow their audience to actually 'become' a god or hero themselves. Though there has been a rising academic interest in the ludic reception of antiquity, the topic of mythological characters in video games has largely been neglected. This project will examine ancient gods and heroes in video games through the perspective of characterization theory. This term from literary studies refers to how characters are constructed, which can be studied by examining how characters are named, what they do and how they are described. In video games, however, characterization operates very differently from the way it does in literature or cinema since games are 'ergodic' (Aarseth 1997): they require the user to partake in the progression of the text, and by extension also in the characterization process. This project will lead to the construction of a theoretical framework to study ergodic characterization, which will be applied empirically to mythological characters in video games. It therefore expands both our theoretical knowledge of 'character' and brings the study of antiquity reception into new and exciting areas.


Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project