Have you ever had a visual that nagged at the corners of your mind with its unidentifiable familiarity? Something you know is an undercurrent to common things you touch every day? One of them is probably happening when you turn on your phone’s Bluetooth.
The icon you are seeing without considering is actually a double rune called a bind-rune. It is formed from two runes that are merged together. Ericsson, the Denmark based company that created Bluetooth, has a Viking heritage which explains the use of Norse history.
Bluetooth uses radio waves instead of wires or cables to unite two separate devices. Harald Bluetooth united Denmark in the late nine hundreds and as such the device is named after him in rune form. You can see the H and B runes for his initial are joined to represent this idea.
To truly appreciate this, should understand what runes are. There is a lot of mystery if they are ancient Norse letters that, according to mythology, Odin discovered and gave to gods and humans, if they are divinatory symbols, or something else entirely. Runes have been around for thousands of years and their symbols are still used as psychic tools today.
What does this have to do with video games? Not surprisingly, runes are a type of universal language in video games as well. When you need a symbol to represent a magical power or indicate an instruction that supersedes language limitations of the users, runes allow for game design in visual form. You might find this familiar since you have seen this before. Do you recall the runic alphabet, in the Ultima games, Runescape, Dishonored, or perhaps you noticed them when you cast spells in The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. However, those six Elder Scrolls runes are inspired by the Nordic alphabet but not truly reflective of it. Camelot Unchained uses runes as well in combinations during spell creation. As you can see video games often borrow from history and mysticism when the setting is right. Hopefully you can appreciate that something so ancient is still affecting both our digital and our physical world today.