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‘Transcending History and the World’: Ancient Greece and Rome in Versus Fighting Video Games

Lowe, Dunstan (2021) ‘Transcending History and the World’: Ancient Greece and Rome in Versus Fighting Video Games. In: Ariese-Vandemeulebroucke, Csilla E. and Boom, Krijn H.J. and van den Hout, Bram and Mol, Angus A.A. and Politopoulos, Aris, eds. Return to the Interactive Past: The Interplay of Video Games and Histories. Sidestone Press, pp. 89-107. ISBN 978-90-8890-912-2. (KAR id:83769)


The golden age of beat-em-up videogames, in arcade and console gaming in the 1980s and 1990s, has a large but neglected cast of Greek and Roman warriors. Gladiators and centurions represented Italy and Greece in worldwide tournaments such as Fighters History, reflecting the fantastical impressions of casual cultural tourists. There are traces of classical antiquity in the major franchises Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Killer Instinct, Tekken, and above all Soulcalibur, in which the Greek Sophitia is the chosen warrior of Hephaestus. At times the ancient world is literally a mere backdrop, as the Parthenon or Colosseum is incongruously overlaid with more contemporary spectacle. But this genre transforms this cultural background in surprising ways, exposing what it really means to audiences whose attention is focused on the foreground.

Item Type: Book section
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DE The Greco-Roman World
N Visual Arts > N Visual arts (General). For photography, see TR
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Department of Classical and Archaeological Studies
Depositing User: Dunstan Lowe
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2020 16:51 UTC
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2022 11:36 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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