Panel 2C: Inferno in Videogames
Session 2 – July 1, 15:30 – 17:00
‘You have returned’ – On the Remediation of Achilles’ and Patroclus’ Relationship from Homer’s Iliad in Supergiant Games’ Hades (2020)
Greek mythology has become an essential part of pop culture. It appears that the more recent an adaptation is, the more it plays with source materials such as the Iliad and the Odyssey. While the 1990s series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys took up whole storylines from Greek epic poems and created a Greek-inspired fantasy world around those works with faithful adaptations of particular scenes, action movies like Disney’s Hercules (1997), Clash of the Titans (2010) and Immortals (2011) mostly rely on the same well-known set of grander motifs, which are readily available in the western cultural consciousness, such as the imprisoned Titans of Mount Tartarus, the fate of the minotaur and the destiny of demigods, fathered by godfather Zeus.
The relationship between Achilles and Patroclus, heroes of the Trojan War, sees relatively few mentions in contemporary media, although it is a relationship which has been discussed and used by artists and researchers alike for centuries (Fox 2011, 223; Fantuzzi 2021; Halperin 2000), such as Aeschylus, Plato and Shakespeare. One of the most recent adaptations can be found in Supergiant Games’ Hades, a massively successful roguelike action role-playing video game from 2020. This presentation wants to explore in which way the game has adapted Homer’s epic poem in regard to the framing and display of Achilles’ and Patroclus’ relationship with an emphasis on the ‘refashioning’ (Bolter/Grusin 1999, 15) taking place by remediating the relationship in a video game. Parts from the Iliad will be compared to the game’s dialogues, gameplay and narrative surrounding those characters, in an approach which combines traditional close reading techniques with models of film analysis and video game performativity (e.g. Nitsche 2003). The presentation will draw special attention to the fact that the relationship is taken to the Greek underworld, which serves as the setting of the game.
Marie-Luise Meier is a teacher and PhD student at the University of
Tartu. Her PhD project aims to create a methodology for analyzing gender in video games. As a media and literary scholar by trade, she has been working as a lecturer at the Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel in Germany and is now working as a DAAD lecturer at the University of Tartu in Estonia. Next to gender, film and game theory, her research focus lies on transmedia dystopian fiction as well as works of speculative fiction and fantasy theory after 1900.