It’s safe to say that in the incredible world of gaming, everybody knows certain virtual artifacts simply transcend both pixels and code. These digital relics, quite often wielded with legendary prowess, are the medieval swords – swords that have shaped gaming history into what it is today.
From King Arthur’s mythical Excalibur to technologically advanced blades of the far future, the sheer influence of these weapons extends far, far beyond their origins. So, without further ado, let’s begin this exploration of some of the best and most known swords in gaming history and understand everything about their impact on the whole gaming industry.
Legendary Swords and Their Origins
Swords, both mythical and virtual, have always held a special place in the hearts of gamers. Well, it’s no wonder why – they’re the symbols of power and heroism in the fantastical worlds they exist. So, let’s learn more about some of the most recognizable ones you might have heard about, especially if you’re a gamer. Not all of them come from virtual worlds, but some might come from your favorite games.
1. Excalibur – King Arthur Legend (Final Fantasy)
Excalibur, King Arthur’s famous sword, actually comes from medieval folklore. According to one legend, it was bestowed upon King Arthur by the Lady of the Lake and according to another, more famous tale, he pulled it out of the stone as a divine sign of his right to rule. The sword’s magical properties and Arthur’s destiny to wield it have made Excalibur a symbol of rightful leadership and divine authority.
Even though it is rarely found in games under its own name, aside from some of the Final Fantasy games, Excalibur’s legend has outgrown its impact on the world of literature, which was its only home before the age of gaming. It has become a source of inspiration for some classic RPGs all the way to more modern titles of recent years. All games that are connected to this legendary sword are full of mythic destiny and sacrifice, and you’ll definitely need its power to overcome the forces of evil.
2. Master Sword (Legend of Zelda Series)
The Master Sword, a weapon that stands as a symbol of Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda series, is as important to the narrative as Link himself. Known as the “Sword of Evil’s Bane,” it is often the key to defeating the primary antagonist, Ganon. At the risk of oversimplifying its significance, this sword represents the balance between power and wisdom and is an integral part of Link’s heroic journey.
Across many Legend of Zelda games, the Master Sword actually undergoes some rather unique transformations, both in appearance and power. Fans have witnessed its evolution from a legendary blade to a sentient weapon with its own live spirit, which only added more mystery to the sword. Each installment adds more depth to the Master Sword’s legacy and makes it even more recognizable in the Zelda universe.
3. Frostmourne (World of Warcraft)
Frostmourne is a rune blade that every World of Warcraft fan needs no introduction to. Now, if you’re not familiar with the story, the vampiric Dread Lords of the Burning Legion created a mighty armor to bind the soul of the Orkish shaman Ner’zhul, better known as the Lich King. As an addition to the armor, they have created this legendary sword, although some older sources claim the Lich King made it himself. Whatever the case, the sword has a dark history and a thirst for the souls of its victims.
Every time the Lich King strikes down one of his opponents, the blade immediately harnesses their soul. Its creation and the events surrounding it are what made World of Warcraft so beloved by millions of people. Now, in World of Warcraft, Frostmourne is a powerful artifact also tied to the iconic character of Arthas Menethil. Arthas, the king’s son and the young paladin of the Order of Light, took the blade in an act of desperation to save his people in one of the battles in the cold north.
Frostmourne devoured and corrupted him from the inside day by day until he destroyed the very realm his father ruled over for ninety years. After laying waste to everything he once held dear, Arthas returned north. Guided by the whispers of the Lich King, he fought numerous opponents before he finally reached the armor that held the Orc shaman’s spirit. Arthas destroyed the block of ice, which held the shaman hostage, and merged with Ner’zhul to become the Lich King – perhaps one of the most famous gaming characters of all time.
4. Andúril (Middle-earth: Shadow of War)
Andúril, also known as the Flame of the West, is a sword that comes from J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium, crafted from the shards of Narsil. If you have enjoyed the Lord of the Rings franchise, you’ll recognize this sword as the one that Elrond reforged for Aragorn before he went to search for the army of the dead. What makes this legendary and powerful sword so special is the fact that it belongs to the rightful heir to the throne of Gondor. It embodies the last hope of Men against the encroaching darkness of Sauron.
In the game “Middle-earth: Shadow of War,” Andúril is at the center of the protagonist’s story. Its reforging and use against the servants of the darkness serve to emphasize the themes of redemption and the struggle against the forces of Mordor. The inclusion of Andúril adds an excellent layer of authenticity and reverence for all the gamers who are also interested in Tolkien’s vast lore of Middle Earth and all its peoples.
The swords – the best swords in gaming history have completely transcended their pixels and polygons. Each one of them has become a symbol that gamers all over the world worship, use in their cosplays and even keep small or life-size replicas in their homes. So, you see, their influence simply can’t be put in words. Whether in a scroll that tells the story from one of the legends of medieval battlefields or the fantastical realms of today’s games, all these swords have an immortal legacy behind them that fans have always loved and will love for generations to come.