Hey Blerdy Tribe!! It’s Monday once again and I want to kick off the week with some melanin friendly games! If this is your first time here at Blerdy Otome, welcome!
Every Monday I spotlight video games that focus on stories surrounding more diverse casts of characters—for folks like me looking for a bit more representation in their games. Video games are for everyone, so shouldn’t their stories and characters be just as diverse as the people that play them? So I created this series to celebrate games that strive to tell much more diverse stories centering on Black and Brown individuals. But, I welcome all diversity and the series has expanded to include games featuring LGBTQIA rep and characters from other underrepresented groups.
So, if you’re interested in seeing previous Melanin Friendly Games posts, click HERE. This week, I’m spotlighting the rogue-like game, Hades, from Supergiant Games.
Hades is a rogue-like dungeon crawler in which you defy the god of the dead as you hack and slash your way out of the Underworld of Greek myth. We think it combines the best aspects of our previous games, including the fast-paced action of Bastion, the rich atmosphere and depth of Transistor, and the character-driven storytelling of Pyre.
It’s never the same experience twice: Each time you play, you’ll combine the divine might of various Olympian gods with your own in new ways, brave a wide variety of different challenges, and unravel more of the story featuring our award-winning art, audio, and narrative. You may play for not just dozens of hours, but hundreds of hours, while still discovering new character builds and story events.
Hades Official Game Description
In the game you play as Zagreus, the immortal son of Hades on his quest to escape from the underworld. Hack, slash, and fight angry lost souls as you navigate through the many levels of Tartarus. Death is a mere inconvenience for you, after each failed attempt you return to Hades’ palace to reflect on your previous run and try again. Along the way you will receive aid from the gods of Olympus in the form of Boons that can be used to make your quest a bit easier.
So, I’m not the biggest fan of dungeon crawlers, hacking and slashing through untold hordes of monsters and enemies can get repetitive and I have the attention span of a tea cup. Then you throw in the endless cycle of the rogue-like genre, where death isn’t an exception, but an inevitability and you have the perfect storm of a game that would drive me absolutely mad. But, a lot of my Twitter moots were playing the game and after being inundated with screenshots from the game and fanart of the game’s gorgeous pantheon of gods and I folded like a cheap suit. I am weak to anything involving Greek gods and goddesses—there was a brief moment in undergrad where I almost switched from the Psych program to the Classics—and that alone was enough to get me to open up the Nintendo eShop.
I love that each of the gods you encounter have their own unique character designs, no two characters look alike and it’s Melanin Monday, so you know I wouldn’t be talking about Hades if not for the diverse cast. It’s more a part of the overall aesthetic than indicative of race or ethnicity—but seeing that some of the gods have a bit of a melanin glow definitely got me excited… especially Diyonisus, that god can get it~
The premise is simple enough, play as the son of Hades and fight your way through the Underworld. You start off with this massive sword that kind of reminded me a bit of Zangetsu from Bleach and every so often one of the gods of Olympus will show up and give you power-ups called Boons—each one is specific to that god, like Zeus’s are lightning based. Of course I didn’t know this going in, because it’s been established that I don’t read about these games before playing them, I just kind of dive in and hope for the best, so as you can imagine, my first run was a mess. I managed to get to to the 9th level by the skin of my teeth just hacking and slashing without any rhyme or reason. I think I’d gotten a couple of Boons from Poseidon but even that wasn’t enough to save me from the inevitability of death, but by this point the flame had been lit and come hell or high water I was going to win! So I tried again… and died… and then again…and again… telling myself that this run would be the one that would end in victory. And that’s how they get you! I spent five hours like this, only stopping when the urge to throw my joycons at my TV in frustration started to sink in (and oh how close I came).
But, that’s kind of part of the fun—the bitterness of defeat, the sheer elation at clearing a new dungeon, the excitement of encountering a new god; it’s all a part of what makes Hades such a worthwhile experience!