Gaming and Ancient Rome: They Belong Toga-ther
The legacy of the ancient Romans lives on in 2018. From our roads to our fashion, remnants of the Romans can be seen pretty much everywhere you look. However, increasingly elements of Rome are finding their way into an unexpected area, our gaming.
The Romans were the adrenaline junkies of the middle ages. Gladiator fights were hugely popular, with thousands of twisted townsfolk turning up to watch men battle for glory and hopefully have some financial victories of their own. Hungry animals such as bears, rhinos, tigers, and even giraffes would be pitted against each other and sometimes even take on the gladiators. Though still partial to a wildlife rumble, nowadays we prefer to watch our animal fights safely from the confines of our sofa, preferably accompanied by the soothing voice of David Attenborough.
Ancient Rome has long since been romanticised in films and literature but has gradually been making its way into our games, on and off screen. Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip opened in 1966 and with its stunning architecture, including its own Roman baths, it’s on the bucket list of every casino lover. It’s no surprise that, now, betting sites have jumped aboard the trend chariot with some of their own online Vegas games with tiles like Rome: Rise of an Empire. Even the Gods loved a bit of gaming and, in Greek mythology, Zeus, Hades and Poseidon played ‘throw the dice’ to decide how to split the universe between them.
One of the first games to demonstrate the fun of the Roman fantasy was the classic, Age of Empires. First released on PC in 1997, this real-time strategy game challenged players to develop civilisations from the Stone to the Iron Ages, facing the challenges of unmapped territories, collecting resources and, of course, protecting your city from enemies. The release of Age of Empires 2 added a whole new level to gameplay, allowing you to go mulitplayer online and create epic battles against your mates.
Moving into the modern day, Total War: Rome 2 demonstrates stunning visuals of Roman civilisation in a beautifully detailed map. This strategy game requires players to build an army in order to conquer territory. Though the game initially suffered some technical issues when first released in 2013, the new expansion packs released this year have added a whole new element to the game including a family tree system and improved graphics.
The popular French comic book Asterix produced many great games. Though they only really gained popularity in Europe, the 1991 Gameboy version deserves a mention. Playing as the character Gaul, you must fight your way across Europe facing aggressive animals and Roman soldiers in order to rescue your friend Obelix from being thrown to Caesar’s lions.
Today, loads of great games take inspiration from our Roman brothers. Although I don’t think I could live the life of a real Roman, its great fun being one from the other side of a screen.
VII Things We Bet You Didn’t Know About the Romans
- Men would kiss their wives on the lips every day to detect if she had been out drinking wine and partying.
- Togas were not worn every day and were more like a business suit. Only the emperor or important generals were allowed to wear all purple togas and anyone else caught wearing purple would be killed.
- To build a lighthouse on the River Tiber, as they didn’t have a solid foundation to build on, the Romans sunk a ship filled with lentils and built on top of it.
- The Romans are responsible for inventing cesarean births, hence the name.
- They also drank gladiator blood to cure epilepsy and infertility.
- Only around 10% of Ancient Rome has been excavated.
- The word ‘trivia’ comes from the Latin words meaning ‘three roads’. The modern meaning is because bulletins with information and notices were put up where three roads met.
Dave has over 20 years experience in the digital industry, and is founder and editor of Geektown. Obviously a huge geek himself, he can often be found in front of the latest tv show or movie, on various video games, or with his head in a comic book.