The best archaeologists in video games

Video games often serve as an escape for people seeking entertainment or those who simply want to forget the realities and responsibilities of life, if only for a moment. Archeology isn’t usually a profession associated with gaming, but there are many iconic video game archaeologists that gamers have turned to over the years.

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This includes characters from video games like Lara Croft from grave robber as well as those of the main live action properties like IndianaJones who have simply appeared as main characters in licensed games over the decades. Regardless of their origin, they are widely regarded as some of the finest archaeologists in the game and generally offer a surefire ticket to adventure.


7/7 Sylens

An essential part of what makes the world of Horizon Zero Dawn and Forbidden Horizon West so interesting is that the audience learns alongside the game’s characters. The story itself is full of twists and turns, with many characters imposing their will on the world around them. One of those people who seems harmless at first but evolves into a major threat is named Sylens.

The character is wonderfully portrayed by the talented Lance Riddick and is a man with a strong interest in history and technology. These two things intertwine when looking at what happens to the Ancients, a driving force that drives a wedge between him and those who oppose him. Of all the archaeologists in the video game, he is by far the most chaotic and untrustworthy.

6/7 Guy and Ana Spelunky

Potholing is an indie game that may not contain the same cache as some of the bigger game series, but it’s hard to find many other archaeologists in more iconic video games than this father/daughter pair. Guy Spelunky is the main character of the original platform roguelike, and players are tasked with surviving room after room of danger and peril in order to walk away with the ultimate reward: a giant golden head.

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His daughter, Ana Spelunky, is revealed to take over in her father’s absence as an adventurous archaeologist, though she withdraws her talents from the world. The addictive and mysterious games were designed by Derek Yu and his video game development company Mossmouth. The first entry was released on PC in 2013 before later being ported to consoles, with the second hitting the scene in 2020.

5/7 Liara T’Soni

Mass Effect is one of the greatest and most popular sci-fi video game series of all time. It is known for its stellar role-playing elements and a cast of characters that draw the player into a real sense of immersion. Among the many alien races and characters that players encounter is a studious and diligent archaeologist belonging to the all-female race of aliens known as the Asari.

Liara T’Soni is the character in question, and although she was first introduced in the original Mass Effect on a search site, players can take her through all three games as they have developed a strong romantic or platonic relationship with the brilliant mind.

4/7 Professor Layton

This may surprise those who have only heard of Professor Layton series, but the titular character is indeed an archaeologist. Professor Hershel Layton is the main character of the beloved puzzle adventure games and is actually recognized as a professor of archeology.

Game and character creator Akihiro Hino said that sherlock holmes and IndianaJones served as fundamental inspirations to Professor Layton, which is evident in both his physical appearance and his personality. As a series, there are plenty of games to dive into for anyone looking to scratch that archaeological itch in a puzzle-solving setting.

3/7 Lara Croft

Considered by many to be the original video game archaeologist, Lara Croft has stood the test of time as an iconic video game character. She managed to enter the world of cinema, but nothing quite matches her ancient and historical adventures during the grave robber series. Her life is far more violent and paranormally manipulated than that of the average archaeologist, but she understands what her actions present.

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Another thing that sets her apart is her high-level athleticism, which allows her to scale and maneuver around graves that would require an average person to leave and return home given what’s in front of them. It’s unclear what the future holds for Lara Croft and grave robber, but it’s a safe bet that archeology will play a role.

2/7 nathan drake

In the traditional sense, it’s hard to call Nathan Drake an archaeologist because he functions much more like an explorer and treasure hunter. As one of the most identifiable characters on the PlayStation platform, it would be hard to deny how iconic Nathan Drake is and the massive impact he and his games have had on the gaming industry.

Although the Unexplored The series and the character of Drake drew a lot of inspiration from Lara Croft and Indiana Jones, at this point both the intrepid explorer and the Unexplored collection of games were able to forge their own identity. Deep down, Nathan Drake wants to function as an archaeologist, but circumstances and personality never let that happen in any meaningful way.

1/7 IndianaJones

As far as the best video game archaeologists go, they don’t get much bigger than Indiana Jones. He is arguably the most iconic fictional archaeologist of all time in any medium, and has inspired countless other characters since his big screen debut in 1981.

The Adventurer has appeared in its fair share of video games since then, but none are quite as exciting as the upcoming licensed game from Wolfenstein restart MachineGames developers. Fans Eagerly Await Untitled Studio Reveal IndianaJones game, which was originally revealed in January 2021.

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