The traditional video game industry is down in the dumps. Anywhere you look, like here, you find commentary on way the industry is failing and how it might ditch the huge hardware for hand-held devices. Before expensive units such as the Playstation and Xbox series become tiny telecommunication devices (which I can't really see myself buying), I thought I take a trip down memory lane with games related to another industry that sees similar lows: The print publishing industry.
You gotta love when an adaptation of a famous series of sci-fi novels simply becomes all out hack-and-slash.
Conan, which released for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 in 2007, is a button-smashing gore-fest that lets the player act as Conan the Barbarian from Robert E. Howard's fantasy/sci-fi literature.
Since the beast's popular appearance in Weird Tales magazine in the 1930s, Conan has been in the hands of many filmmakers, comic book writers, and so on. Each time someone uses the character, he has a slightly new look and a bit more of a drama centered around his rise to the throne. Once the stories took form in a video game, people had no idea where this guy came from, his literary relevance, or the fact that he had feelings. But they did give him a crazy sword and a spear.
When I read Dante's Inferno, it was nothing like this. It was all mooshy and touchy-touchy-feel-feel. Oh, and Italian.
If you ever played this game, you might've realized it's the preferred method for learning the story. I love the long poem form, but it's a bit DANTing of a read (see what I did there?).
It's a great tale, but the video game kind of has a Pearl Harbor (the movie) feel to it. In Pearl Harbor it's a love-triangle - and oh yeah, war somewhere in the background. With Dante's Inferno (the video game), it's all about the war with something about Hell and a damned loved one in the distance.
To me, this was nothing more than a God of War rip-off interestingly akin to a suped-up Super Mario Brothers . . . except it had the nicest pairs of digital mammary glands anyone has even seen.
I would be remiss if I only stuck to the newer literary rip offs.
Nothing has been more overdone than Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus. Yes that's right, there's a semicolon and a comma in the title.
Imagine if Mary Shelley were alive to day. Assuming Frankenstein would still work in today's culture, can you image how much cash she would rake in? You think Twilight was over-saturated . . .
Anyway, since I'm partial to old blow-on-the-cartridge-before-playing systems, let's stroll back to 1994, when this gem was released for Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis - and oh my lord - Sega CD.
(Quick digression: It's sad that Sega didn't stay in the hardware race. They were way ahead of anyone. I mean, they had the Internet- and media-ready Saturn and Dreamcast, but no one thought there was a point to have the Internet hooked up to a video game console.)
OK, oddly enough this game somewhat sticks to the ideas behind Frankenstein. It's based on the 1994 movies and not quite the book, but it's intriguing nonetheless. You get a wooden stick, which can be lit on fire, to swing at enemies. If I recall correctly, you can also shoot these big blue balls of negativity.
The game is about a creature who fights for acceptance as women throw Zelda-like pots at him and men blast away at him with muskets. Comparatively speaking, this is probably the most true-to-the-general-idea video game that has been ever made.
There are dozens more video games based on novel, and there are dozens of novels based on video games. At the end of the day, though, it's important to see the relationship between literature and video games. Actually, this blog was just about some fun nostalgia.
What Book-to-Game Do You Remember?
You Might Also Enjoy
Video Game Industry Searches for Reset Button
Video Games Based on Movies Based On Books
Best Game Books
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.