Literary Classics To Video Games

From Wired magazine:

Dante’s Inferno proves it: Classic literature is a videogame gold mine.

Now that Electronic Arts is finished reimagining Dante Alighieri’s epic poem as an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 adventure through the circles of hell, the development team’s going to need to find inspiration in other classic literary works.

Game|Life would like to humbly suggest 10 more books that would make totally kick-ass games.

For those of you with a deep affection for the classics, it’s probably best you don’t read their list. It’s full of new scenarios. “Players command an army of Lilliputians and confront the giants of Brobdingnag” for the game version of Gulliver’s Travels.

Personally, I look forward to the improved version of Middlemarch where Dorothea Brooke instead shuns Casaubon overtures, and opts for the life on the high seas fighting skeletal pirates thus saving us 400 pages of The Painfully Obvious.

It could have happened.

By Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

11 replies on “Literary Classics To Video Games”

He did it that.

But what a fantastic idea for a game.

(Who am I kidding – I’m crap at all computer games. If I tried to command lilliputians aganst brobdingnagians my lilliputians would mutiny and kill me. From the inside . . . )

Dante’s Inferno looks like it’ll do for Dante what God of War did for Greek mythology…

Looks fun but I fear it’ll not do a great deal to counter the popular perception of videogames as mindless lowbrow entertainment, although it IS a ‘re-imagining’ rather than an attempt at straight-up adaptation. I reckon the best attempt at that I’ve ever seen is still probably The Hobbit for the ZX Spectrum.

Continuing on similarly bathetic lines btw: how about a re-imagining of A Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man using the Grand Theft Auto 4 engine? Or, better yet, a 2D platform game?

Funny you mention it. I had a late, late night finishing Dante’s Inferno last night – what? It was fun!

Ah, I make no apologies. I’d have let the unbaptised babies be myself, but they kept coming at me with scythes!

Still, for all the marketing, the game itself really has precious little to do with Dante. And I’m all for repurposing classic literature from the public domain for games. At least that way there’s a better chance of some decent narrative. Not that, that said, Dante’s Inferno managed that very well at all.

I think it raises an interesting point. Does making a game of a classic ever raise interest in that book? I’d guess, yes, to some extent.

Sure, it’s severely tampering with an established, perhaps iconic work, but if that brings it to the attention of a wider audience (and perhaps converts some to that classic) is that bad? Yes and no.

It’s certainly no worse than a Hollywood butchering of a certain title, and the game medium is very different, so the narrative is forced to change…

I’d be intrigued to see more, though. (Although, Sam, that cover is a totally bizarre image.)

I used to love the zx spectrum Hobbit and possibly more so the LOTR game. It was great, after struggling to get through a door for half an hour i could then order sam to kill merry and pippin and he would (woe betide me if i dared attack Sam though). I also liked to tell Sam to “piss off” to which the game would reply, “Sam can’t see any fissures”. I was only 8 years old at the time….

Part of me is surprised it has taken so long to adapt “Dante’s inferno” into a game. It’s got the levels built in already and demons/torture is always good fun.

Neil/Alex – you know, I’ve not even seen screen shots of that Spectrum game. I’m off to google now…

Hampshire, thanks for stopping by. Actually, yeah, when you put it like that… I suspect the Iliad would also make good game fodder.

Comments are closed.