hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Ireland's influence in videogames

10:00 AM on 03.17.2012 // Stephen Beirne

Well, it's Saint Patrick's Day, and what better way is there to mark the occasion than by doing something flippant and pointless?

Naturally, the Irish are fantastic at everything they do (and they're handsome, too), so it's no surprise that a huge amount of the videogame ecosystem can be credited back to the weather-worn shores of Ireland. It is in this spirit of talent and modesty that I present to you a magnificent list detailing all possible Irish contributions to the industry, with varying degrees of tenability.

I'm from Kildare, so it's ok.

Irish stereotypes

Oh atoy atoy, sure it's all in good fun. I've seldom come across a halfway decently portrayed Irish character myself, but I can take turns laughing and scorning the many caricatures that pop up from time to time. As with most liberal interpretations of Irish culture, they usually shift unconsciously between the offensive and ridiculous.

From the cowardly drunkard Irish in Red Dead Redemption to The Saboteur's thuggish Sean Devlin, the rootin' tootin' half of the stereotype is well covered. On the other hand, I can't think of many examples who fall into fits of poetry, although I'm sure there's an FPS sergeant somewhere who gave his dramatic last stand the "isn't it terrible, terrible" treatment.

Honorable mentions include BioShock's Atlus, husband to Moira, father to Patrick; Catherine O'Hara from Valkyria Chronicles, for being more competent than most; Mercenaries 2's Ewan Devlin, whose constantly changing accent had him traveling the whole of Ireland mid-sentence. Shenanigans.

Alcohol

It wouldn't be St. Patrick's Day without a sardonic reference to drinking. Just like in real life, alcohol in games often grants drinkers powers beyond their natural capabilities. Surely there isn't a more socially acceptable way to artificially increase your Charisma or Strength at the cost of a little Intelligence. In some cases like BioShock, it even restores your health.

Although consuming virtual alcohol lacks the potential for craic in comparison to its real counterpart, you can still enjoy a diverse range of visual distortions and collapsing animations from game to game. My fondest memory of Red Dead Redemption involves John Marston plunging head-first into the ground, as such as he deserved. Drink responsibly, kids!

Havok Engine

Perhaps the most significant Irish contribution to the world of videogames (and the most legitimate thing on this list) is this physics engine. If you've played Assassin's Creed, Dark Souls, Half-Life 2, Uncharted 3, BioShock, Fallout 3, or a slew of other titles, you might have come to recognize this software from the way it feels in-game.

Probably because of how little Ireland has actually contributed directly to modern gaming, I always feel a glimmer of joy whenever the Havok logo appears in a new game. It's wonderful to see this Dublin-based company rise to such an accomplished place in the industry in the short time it has been around.

Irish Mythology

I'm always surprised by how much of Irish legends can be found in videogames from all across the globe.

To my knowledge, the Japanese-made Folklore, based in a small town in the west of Ireland, delves heavily into the Celtic bestiary. The shape-shifter Morrigan from Dragon Age: Origins has her beginnings in Irish mythology, which might shed some insight into her relationship with her mother Flemeth. Korean MMO Mabinogi, set in the real Irish location of Tír na nÓg, is another game steeped in Irish folklore, although at times it can be insulting rather than endearing. Final Fantasy games have long had some form of Cait Sith, and Cú Chulainn was an Esper in Final Fantasy XII. Both have also featured in the Megami Tensei series.

Speaking of Cú Chulainn, it's worth noting how his character and adventures could be easily sourced into the most ostentatious videogames. He's essentially the prototypical Super Saiyan/Kratos-like ultimate warrior.

It would take more effort than this list is worth to account for all instances of Irish myth in games, but here's one for the road: the modern incarnation of Dracula, created by Bram Stoker and probably inspired by the dearg-dua, without whom we definitely wouldn't have had the Castlevania series.

(Cheers to Matt for helping with that one!)

The Ending Theme to Metal Gear Solid

'Tis a beautiful song.

The Color Green

Since it's well known that Ireland invented green, without green pastures, Videogame Land would have missed out on some of its most significant icons. There would be no The Legend of Zelda -- you can't have a naked Link running around the place -- nor would there have been a Sonic the Hedgehog -- the first level is called Green Hill Zone. We wouldn't even have Shadow of the Colossus, since the cover of the European box is mostly green.

So in the true Irish spirit of talking utter shite, cheers to the color green!

These are but six of the many wonderful things Ireland has brought to our fair hobby. As I'm sure you can imagine, the original article was quite a bit longer, but austerity affects blogging, too. Since we can of course keep the Irishness alive through casual begrudgery, what would you rather have seen be included this list? Let us know in the comments!



Stephen Beirne, Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
There once was a man from an island Who preferred his spare time to be silent. He liked Final Fantasy XIII, Epistemology, And when gamers got mad he got violent. more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Jiraya avatarJiraya
Now Listening to Old Music 7 - Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
[youtube]https://youtu.be/9aHQnDTd1y4[/youtube]
Shinta avatarShinta
[youtube]https://youtu.be/ix6BJTSjAB4[/youtube] There is a ton of awesome music in this game.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
Laracraft: World of Tomb Raiders
Joe Parlock avatarJoe Parlock
So there's a game called School of Ragnorok coming out, and in it there's my new boyfriend. He's an 8 foot tall demon thing with awesome hair: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ibgnjCHv24
Nerdcotic Network avatarNerdcotic Network
check out this awesome video made by the Nerdcotic Network. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3KgJfBt0uE
Nerdcotic Network avatarNerdcotic Network
Hay check out this awesome video made by the Nerdcotic Network on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QemwbuspOJg
The Travisionist avatarThe Travisionist
[img]http://cdn.destructoid.com//ul/308609-RR1.jpg[/img] Dayum. Billy Mays is back and lookin' good.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
Pivot smash my way to victory
Osc44 avatarOsc44
You ever dream of flying through the clouds, but couldn't so you just watch TV? Me neither.
Zack Furniss avatarZack Furniss
Oh GOOD, The Flock is awful. I was hoping to break my high review score streak. (this is a joke)
Zack Furniss avatarZack Furniss
So many PAX things to write. So many.
Shinta avatarShinta
Bwahahahaha .... my helicopter now arrives in the middle of a fight blaring "Take on Me" on the loudspeakers. Metal Gear 5, 10/10. [youtube]https://youtu.be/djV11Xbc914[/youtube]
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Oh neat, Hollow Knight got through the Colosseum of Fools stretch goal while no one was looking. Shame they couldn't get to three characters but the game still looks awesome.
techsupport avatartechsupport
S Rank is so satisfying. Too bad I rarely earn it!
Bardley avatarBardley
My MGSV: The Phantom Pain playthrough has quickly devolved into a journey to fill out Big Boss' 80's synth pop collection. And I couldn't be happier.
Dinosir avatarDinosir
You know what I love? Game tgat force you to connect to their servers even though you only want to play single player. Then the servers are down an the game tries for like 5 minutes, not even giving you a way to cancel the process, you just have to wait
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
In today's Spelunky daily challenge, I was nibbled by a bat that pushed me into a Tiki trap that landed me dead on Kali's alter. Kali was pleased with the bat's sacrifice.
Shinta avatarShinta
It's pretty good guys ... [youtube]https://youtu.be/_98VZT9s7M0[/youtube]
Shinta avatarShinta
FFXV is supposedly 10x as big as The Witcher 3. Wow ... [img]http://i.imgur.com/9tfSuxQ.png[/img] http://www.dualshockers.com/2015/09/01/final-fantasy-xv-map-size-potentially-revealed-its-roughly-an-enormous-780-square-miles/
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
The ending of "Return to Crookback Bog" in TW3 I got was so depressing. Wow. I think I need a break...
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -