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Thread: Arcadia: What's In A Name

  1. #1
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    Arcadia: What's In A Name

    In times past in the ancient world, many a myth and legend were born which, through the ages - in the written form - have flourished and survived the endurance test of time. Romantic stories of heroes, giants, winged creatures, strange beasts; quests driven by the desire for love, justice, or peace. All these tales never fail to capture the imagination, and whether or not one cares to believe in such fanciful tales, it can't be denied that nearly every culture on the planet has at least one such tale steeped in the waters of mythology. They continue to this very day to inspire a sense of wonder, mystery, and intrigue.

    The longevity and popularity of these stories has meant that in modern times, most if not all have been used in some shape or form by the entertainment, art, and leisure industries. There are literally millions of books out there relating to the genre: fiction, nonfiction, fantasy, sword & sorcery, the list is endless. There have been songs, fine pieces of art, television dramas, documentaries, theatre productions, big budget Hollywood movies, and over the past couple of decades they have even crept into the lucrative world of computer games.

    It is no surprise then that Dontnod have chosen to centre their debut Square Enix game, "Life Is Strange" in and around the imaginary town of Arcadia Bay. Arcadia has seen many versions and interpretations of its namesake through the centuries: The Renaissance period. The entire North American Atlantic coast north of Virginia was named after it by the 16th-century Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano. Thomas Moore's "Utopia" has associations with Arcadia. Edwardian musical comedies, such as the very popular "The Arcadians." Evelyn Waugh's "Brideshead Revisited" used Arcadia in its sub-title. Duran Duran spin off group called themselves "Arcadia." In the computer game Bioshock there is a level called "Arcadia." Needless to say the examples just keep coming relentlessly, proof beyond any doubt that the name Arcadia is firmly planted within the consciousness of the peoples of this planet, either subliminally or explicitly, and cuts across the entire social spectrum of awareness.

    The name Arcadia, which is Greek, refers to a perfect vision of pastoralism and harmony with nature and is derived from the province of the same name which dates back to antiquity. In classic Greek mythology Arcadia was home to the god, Pan, and surrounding him - his court of dryads, nymphs and other spirits of nature. I'm sure that everyone by now has not failed to notice the Doe which is freely roaming around Arcadia Bay and making itself known to Max. This ethereal 'sprite' could be considered as a spirit of nature and is gallivanting quite happily around the gardens of Arcadia, or should that be Arcadia Bay?

    It is hardly coincidence that Dontnod chose to use this name above any other; they have done their homework and know exactly what they are doing with regards to the power and mystique that the name Arcadia can conjure in a fertile imagination. And further more; I think it's safe to say that the development team are well aware of this fact and are using it intentionally to expand and enhance the enigmatic aspect of their game. The myths and legends of ancient Greece are around 2,700 years old, yet remain ever fresh and youthful when they are rediscovered by a new generation. They have taken the lasting quality of an ancient myth and decided, quite cleverly, to insert it in a virtual modern world where a young girl displays similar god-like abilities that once held sway for the characters in the Greek stories of old.

    The myths and legends of Arcadia, in 2015, live on!
    Last edited by julietxjules; 18th May 2015 at 13:19.
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  2. #2
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    This is a great post. Some small things such as names are often disregarded or barely noticed but sometimes there is a lot of thoughts put into it. Kinda reminds me of the Whedonverse, which is full of things of that nature. I have a great admiration for people who can create and put together pieces that not only entertain, inspire but also make you think. All of that in an organic way.

    Life Is Strange is definitely one of these pieces.

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    Thank you for your kind comment.

    Yes, in some cases a name can mean something else entirely than what it is actually being used to represent. I just wanted to try and create interest and let people know about where Arcadia originally came from and what it truly means.
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  4. #4
    Name origins and meanings really do capture the imagination and encourage sleuthing. As already pointed out, Arcadia's meanings are rooted in the Greek vision of utopia. The word Arcadia can be broken down to it's root and suffix. I have not studied Latin or Greek, so this conjecture is purely from my own random knowledge and probably not 100% accurate.

    Arcadia is the combination of Arca + dia.

    The root word "arca-" orignates from "arcan-" which is Greek for box. Think along the lines of the Pandora's Box myth. Or the word "arcane" which shares the same root. It pretty much means something secret, hidden, confidential, or unknown.

    "Dia" is used as both a prefix and a suffix. As a suffix it means across, through, between or apart. In the word "Arcadia" it is being used as a suffix and pretty much just facilitates in forming the names of countries or diseases.

    So we have Arca dia. And it can pretty much be broken down into meaning Secret Land.

    Pretty cool, right? And quite fitting

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    Exactly! And like I said. . .Dontnod have done their homework and know what they're doing.
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  6. #6
    Lol or it could just all be a coincidence.
    Imagine the developers reading this topic like; "oh, haven't thought about that one. Cool!" xD

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    Haha! Yes, it could all be coincidence, couldn't it?

    The moment that I knew it was not all coincidence was when I saw the poster just inside the doorway at the Two Whales Diner. Go and check it out if you haven't already.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by julietxjules View Post
    Haha! Yes, it could all be coincidence, couldn't it?

    The moment that I knew it was not all coincidence was when I saw the poster just inside the doorway at the Two Whales Diner. Go and check it out if you haven't already.
    Wait a min. I will check it out.

  9. #9
    Arcadia also happens to be the name of the parallell magical universe in The Longest Jouney / Dreamfall games.

    Dreamfall was the first I saw to have such gaming atmosphere, plus with a femaile lead. I warmly recommend it to fans of movie-like games!
    Quite sure LIS is influenced by this one...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beramaor View Post
    Arcadia also happens to be the name of the parallell magical universe in The Longest Jouney / Dreamfall games.

    Dreamfall was the first I saw to have such gaming atmosphere, plus with a femaile lead. I warmly recommend it to fans of movie-like games!
    Quite sure LIS is influenced by this one...
    Well there you are then! Yet another example to support my point. I did not know about that game you mentioned but it's good now that I do.

    Thank you for your input.
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  11. #11
    Can I just say how awesome your posts are? You are literally an awesome person. Thanks for this very interesting post!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColbyCheeseLover View Post
    Can I just say how awesome your posts are? You are literally an awesome person. Thanks for this very interesting post!
    Thank you. . .and I am glad you enjoyed reading my post. It just so happens that Life is Strange is tapping into many subjects that I have been studying for years,
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