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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at George Mason University chapter.

Very few games in the last few years have grabbed my attention quite like Hades, a roguelike following the son of Hades himself, Zagreus, as he attempts to escape the underworld and his father’s control. The game released on PC and Nintendo Switch last September but has been in early access since December 2018. Upon release, the game blew up on streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube. 

However, Hades wasn’t an incredibly popular game while in early access. If you looked it up on Twitch in its early days, you’d see maybe four or five people playing at any given time. One of these Twitch streamers was APlatypuss, who’s been playing the game since its early stages of development. While I didn’t get to see all of APlatypuss’s streams of the game early on, watching shadowed outlines of characters slowly get their designs and turn into the Olympian and Chthonic gods many of us love today was an incredible experience. 

Now, you may be wondering, what is a roguelike and what is the appeal? A roguelike is a dungeon crawler game with randomly generated levels that generally involve the permanent death of a character. Hades differs from the archetypal roguelike particularly due to that last part, which is arguably the most interesting part of its gameplay. 

The start of every run in Hades starts with Prince Zagreus attempting to escape The Underworld and make it to the surface using a variety of weapons, perks from famous figures in Ancient Greece and most importantly, boons from the Olympian gods (Zagreus’s uncles and cousins). These boons and perks only last for one run of the game, so if you die, you’re reborn in the House of Hades and have to confront your not upset but disappointed dad.

Where this differs from the traditional roguelike is that in your time in the House of Hades, you get an actual storyline of Zagreus’s life that builds as you die over and over again and meet other members and employees of the house. Two characters in the house you might recognize are Achilles and Orpheus, tragically separated from their lovers Patroclus and Eurydice while still on Earth. 

Okay, Orpheus a little less tragically because it brought it on himself but I digress. 

Unlike other roguelikes, death in Hades is encouraged so that you can learn more about the story and develop your relationships with the characters in the house and those you meet while on your runs to escape. This is one of the big reasons a lot of people who tend to not like roguelikes have fallen in love with Hades and overall skyrocketed the game’s popularity. 

If that isn’t enough to convince you to play this game, let me give you three more reasons why you should absolutely give this game a shot. 

One big reason you should try Hades is because it’s an incredibly LGBT+ friendly game! There are three romanceable characters for Zagreus to choose from in this game, Thanatos, Megara and Dusa. Even better than that, you’re allowed to romance and date any and all three of these characters at once, making Hades a polyamourous friendly game! 

Thanatos, Meg and literally all of the Olympian gods’ art styles are also just, unfairly attractive, so the game has built in eye candy. 

However, the most important reason you should give this game a shot is because Hades is an indie game. I cannot stress how important it is that we support indie game companies in the current climate surrounding the video game industry. 

Hades was nominated for Game of the Year last year alongside Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part II. Naughty Dog is a big name game developer that has come under fire numerous times for sexual harassment allegations in the workplace and a think called “crunch.”

You might’ve heard this term used more recently in reference to the release of Cyberpunk 2077, a game that flopped upon release due to broken mechanics and poor workplace treatment. This is due to the fact that many big name companies push their developers to their limit close to release. Crunch is essentially a period of time where game developers are expected to put in extra hours and days to get the finishing touches on a highly anticipated game so that they can release on schedule. This is sadly commonplace among these large developers. 

Hades, and many indie games like it, are developed without the use of crunch. 

Hades lost Game of the Year to The Last of Us Part II.  

Hades is a gorgeous game that explores important themes like loss, love and reunion while expanding on the stories of a lot of well known Greek figures whose stories stop in the mythos after they arrive in the underworld. Forging bonds and reuniting these characters is one of the genuine joys of this game. Supergiant Games did a wonderful job of creating an incredible amount of well rounded characters with plenty of flaws, but even more heart.  

The physical release of Hades for the Nintendo Switch is March 19, 2021 and will feature the game itself, a code to two and a half hours of the game’s soundtrack, and a physical book of all the characters you meet throughout the game. 

Jane Grosskopf

George Mason University '21

Jane Grosskopf is a senior at George Mason University majoring in creative writing with a double minor in Middle East studies and journalism. Outside of writing, Jane plays clarinet in the Green Machine Pep Band, and serves as Vice President of Membership for the Mu Omicron chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, an honorary music service fraternity.
George Mason Contributor (GMU)

George Mason University '50

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