As readers might recall, I am a big fan of the Halo series of games. I only own the original Halo game, but I do listen to the music often, and sometimes watch walk-throughs of the later games on Youtube. One thing I thought about was how the character of Master Chief in Halo, pictured above, is a lot like the ancient heroes of past legends. He is a cyborg, half-human and half-robot, and the last of his kind. In the series, he is a powerful soldier due to his robotic nature and helps defend the Human race against alien forces.
Many legends in the world contain heroes that save their people from monsters or other armies almost single-handedly, such as Achilleus, Gilgamesh, Guan Yu, and Cú Chulainn. These heroes aren’t just human, they’re larger-than-life to even super-human. For the Halo series, if you replace swords with futuristic guns, bronze-armor with combat-suits, magic with super-advanced technology and monsters with aliens, it seems like the same type of legend. Even the Marines in the Halo series are like the ancient Myrmidons who fought with Achilleus too.
As an example, take a look at the trailer for the game Halo 2. Here, the Covenant, a powerful race of aliens, have finally found Earth and are invading it, and Master Chief is the lone “reinforcements” that will stop them:
The physics of that scene might be questionable, but it’s the same kind of heroism you might see in ancient hero myths.
Also, in the old days, people would share the legends about these heroes using stories and myths to younger generations. But now these same “myths” are now in book form, or you can relive them in computers over and over again.
So, while the characters, the media, and the scenes have changed, I think games and stories of our modern life reflect a deep cultural consciousness that hasn’t changed much from our ancient ancestors. Today’s nerds are the keepers of a tradition that is very new, but also very ancient in a way.
P.S. I thought about this subject long before Halo 4 came out, but coincidentally wrote it now. :-p