4 Historical Eras That Need Video Games
2: Ancient Sumer
Where: Mesopotamia, obviously.
When: Sometime between 3200 and 2000 B.C.E.
Probably the world’s first civilization, Sumerians first arose in the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers sometime before 4000 B.C.E., having already invented booze. They founded several city states, culturally centered around a city called Ur, that dominated the region politically and militarily for nearly two thousand years. Even after they were absorbed into successor cultures like Assyria, Babylon and the like, their language remained a holy temple dialect (in the same way Latin remains the language of the Catholic Church) for at least a thousand years after.
In the meantime, a whole lot of stuff happened. For instance, there is evidence to suggest that they were performing year-round agriculture as early as 5000 B.C.E., and they almost certainly invented the world’s first written language, probably around 4000. The basis for like 20 different religions occurred during this period (seriously, half of Genesis takes place in Sumer). There was also some amazing architecture and art, and the region probably became a link between Egypt and the developing Dravidian cultures in India. Most importantly, the Epic of Gilgamesh takes place in the era. Yeahyeahyeah, I know you probably haven’t read it, but you’re familiar with the fact that Gilgamesh is a memetic badass, right? Thought so.
Gilgamesh was probably a historic king from around 2800 BCE. In the epic, he claimed to be 2/3 god, he defeated monsters, his best friend was a nature giant, he spurned the advances of the sex goddess Ishtar, and even almost discovered the secret to immortality before deciding it’s best to die, and move on to whatever is next in order to live on in legend. So sorry, rest of humanity, no 1,000th birthday for you! The epic about his adventures may be the oldest surviving work of literature on earth, and is required reading for anyone who wants to see the first ever example of what would later become the Chuck Norris meme.
Why It Needs Video Games
Do we even need to convince you? Sumer isn’t just the cradle of civilization and the basis for like half of everything. There’s incredibly cool stuff like the worship of Ishtar (which mandated a stint as a prostitute for all young women, and voluntary castrations for male temple workers). There’s the coolest mythology ever. And did you know they invented beer and wine? Now you do. Also, see Gilgamesh, above.
And the game?
You could go the turn-based strategy route with Sim Ziggurat, an addictive turn based strategy game in which you build the classic Pyramid-esque architecture of ancient Sumer! But my pick? An action game about Gilgamesh’s mighty adventures. Think Conan the Barbarian meets the first 20 rounds of Civilization. I call it 1/3God of War.