Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Literary Classics as Video Games

With the success of Electronic Arts’ recreation of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem as a hack and slash Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 videogame, The Atlantic asks if the “new video-game version of Dante’s Inferno [might] prove the perfect model for introducing readers to difficult classics?” (Can’t you just see them now: playing it in highschool classrooms? Me neither.) The Atlantic’s essay is lengthy and thoughtful, and it’s here.

Meanwhile Wired, who know a thing or three about all things electronic, have put together a list of classic literary works that might inspire games and gamers. Or as Wired’s gaming section, Game|Life quite succinctly put it, they’d “like to humbly suggest 10 more books that would make totally kick-ass games.”

Here’s the list, but it really warrants a trip to the site for Game|Life’s concise and quirky reviewlets of the works in question:

  • Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
  • The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka
  • The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
  • A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
  • Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
  • Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift
  • The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Siddhartha, Herman Hesse
  • Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
  • Moby Dick, Herman Melville
While we know that women who are hardcore gamers are the exception, not the rule, we still can’t help but notice that this list could benefit from some estrogen. Come now: surely some classic chick lit could make this cut? Something by Ayn Rand, Daphne DuMaurier, either Brönte or even Mary Shelley. There have to be some decent game scenarios in at least one of those?



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