The Irish Themes Giving An Edge To Gaming

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Irish myths, legends, and history are proving to be popular themes in the video game industry, providing the backdrop to titles such as the Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla expansion Wrath of the Druids showcasing the beautiful backdrop of Ireland.

The open-world adventure game allows players to explore Irish landmarks and locations such as Giant’s Causeway, the Hill of Tara, and Ben Bulben in County Sligo. The expansion also includes a virtual version of Dublin as Eivor travels to the Emerald Isle to meet Bárid mac Ímair, the King of Dublin, which taps into aspects of Ireland’s Viking history.

The instant recognisability of Celtic folklore means that Irish themes are also popular in the wider entertainment sector. The iGaming industry, in particular, heavily features slot games of this ilk, with titles such as Luck O’ The Irish Fortune Spins, Book of the Irish, and rainbow riches, which all feature Irish themes of luck and good fortune. Shamrocks, the blarney stone, mischievous leprechauns, and pots of gold, these Irish themes, in the same way as video games, provide a set of familiar Irish associations that drive the narrative.

Video games featuring Irish themes

There is a long history of video games featuring Irish themes dating back to the adventure game Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars, which was developed by Revolution Software in the mid-1990s. Although there have also been games featuring Irish sports such as Gaelic Games: Football, the most popular video games have featured Irish history and folklore, such as the strategy game Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia developed by Creative Assembly. Irish myths and folklore are tailor-made for video games featuring battles, strategy, and adventures, particularly taking into account the Viking history of Ireland.

Video games promoting tourism in Ireland

Another welcome effect of the portrayal of Ireland in video games is the opportunity to promote the Emerald Isle. Tourism Ireland has recognized the potential audience of millions of gamers around the world in the creation of an advertising campaign in cooperation with the video game company Ubisoft. The promotional strategy features game scenes from the Wrath of the Druids expansion alongside real-life footage of the areas and landmarks of Ireland which appear in the video game.

Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland’s Central Marketing Director, explained that the aim of the campaign is to encourage gamers to visit the real-life locations they have encountered in the game: “Ubisoft has done an incredible job in bringing aspects of Celtic Ireland to life in amazing detail. Tourism Ireland’s campaign is a fun and innovative way to bring the island of Ireland to the attention of a new audience of gamers.”

Irish themes play an important role in video games as the historic locations, as myths and legends lend themselves particularly well to adventure game plots. The Viking history of the Emerald Isle also provides a ready-made storyline to video games as evidenced by the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla expansion Wrath of the Druids. We are likely to see Ireland used for inspiration in the development of adventure video game titles in the future.

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