While the beliefs and practices associated with Celtic mythology may be lesser known across the globe than say, Ancient Greek or Egyptian mythology, but some features of the old paganist religion have had an impact on the popular culture of today. Certain supernatural beings came about in later Irish folklore with foundations in the preceding mythology. Leprechauns and fairies, for instance, have been hugely popular topics for inclusion in fiction over the years. However, it could be argued that these magical entities have been underrepresented in gaming. Could this be an untapped niche that developers should jump on?
Notable Impact in Pop Culture But Rarely Seen in Gaming
The Iron Age religions have had an impact on the culture of today in many different ways. There are plenty of obvious examples of the influence of mythologies from these times, with Greek and Roman, perhaps, being among the best known. Indeed, much of our everyday language is derived from these two archaic cultures. Other Iron Age religions have had an impact, however, and Celtic mythology has also been hugely important.
Celtic mythology comprises of the stories and narratives associated with Celtic paganism, which was a polytheistic religion practiced in Celtic regions roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE. Because Celtic mythology was practiced all across Ireland, it paved the way for more recent Irish folklore.
It is this folklore that has served as inspiration for a vast amount of pop culture over the years. For instance, J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy clearly had an Irish influence. The elves and elvish language, in particular, drew from the folklore. Some other well-known examples of Irish folklore influence in fiction include the series of Leprechaun movies. More recently, Andrzej Sapkowski, author of The Witcher series, took inspiration from Irish folklore as well, as he used elves and dryads in his story.
Most people probably have some rudimentary knowledge of Celtic and Irish mythology thanks to its influences on popular fiction. However, one area where it could be argued that this has been underrepresented is in gaming.
Mythology is Often Embraced in Slots Sector
There have been some games over the years that have taken ideas from Celtic mythology, but a lot of these are not considered particularly mainstream. The 2008 offering from Arberth Studios, Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches, is an example of a Celtic inspired game for PC that fell under a lot of players’ radars.
Recently, though, there was a much more popular game based on these times. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice from Ninja Theory was a highly original take on Celtic themes, and it was the best-selling game on the European PlayStation Store in the first month of its release. Perhaps the success of this will lead to other games in the genre.
While Celtic and Irish mythology may not be seen as frequently as one may expect in the video game industry, symbols associated with this age-old culture are highly prevalent and embraced in the slots sector. This could be to do with the fact that a lot of these supernatural beings, especially leprechauns, have become associated with the concept of luck. Considering the element of chance associated with slots, it only makes sense that the concept of luck is used to complement this mechanic.
By using themes of luck, developers can entice players to the slots because it may tap into their superstitious belief that they will win on them. Of course, there is no trickery involved here, as all the slots are governed by the return to player percentages and random number generators. When looking through lists of slot games, players will often come across titles that have foundations in Celtic or Irish mythology. The Rainbow Riches slot is one of the best-known options in this genre and features leprechauns, pots of gold, and many other symbols that have become associated with luck.
Some other slot games based on Irish culture are Clover Rollover and Clover Rollover 2, and the jackpot game, Irish Riches. All of these games are designed to be eye-catching and use traditional green colors that are associated with the luck of the Irish.
Could Videogame Developers Take Inspiration From Celtic Slots?
Thanks to the incredible reception that Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice received, console game developers may be tempted to capitalize on its popularity and create content based on Celtic mythology for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Indeed, there has already been confirmed by the British developer, Ninja Theory, that a sequel to this game will be made for the next generation of consoles.
Games that have taken inspiration from the mythology of other ancient civilizations have all been successful, with the God of War franchise and Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey being two notable examples. Some gamers are attracted to them because they are already interested in Norse or Greek mythology, while others learn about the history of the era by playing the game and taking in the detail. For this reason, more video games based on Celtic mythology could enjoy the same success.
Console developers could also look at the popularity of the Irish-themed slot games and use this as a foundation for creating their games. They could examine some of the most-loved features of titles like those mentioned above and work from this in designing their content. Leprechauns and pots of gold at the end of a rainbow are relatable to all players, and an open-world adventure involving these themes could end up being a massive hit. It could even include some gambling elements, such as side games that are based on slots. After all, it is not uncommon for video games to include slots as an optional activity.
Celtic and Irish mythology is most definitely an untapped niche in the gaming industry, especially on consoles. It is beginning to enjoy more prevalence in the slots market, though, and players seem to be attracted to the games because of their association with luck. Thanks to the popularity of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice as well, developers will be looking at ways to tap into this niche genre.