Tuesday, February 09, 2010

10 Literary Classics That Should Be Video Games

jane austen video game

The editors of Wired created a list of ten classic works of literature that they think should be turned into video games. A sample:

The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

First of all, it’s got “wrath” right in the title. And that’s not the only great marketing opportunity here; I’m already seeing a sort of “Get Your Kicks on Route 66″ campaign for this story of a rough-and-tumble pioneer family setting out for California. They’re not doing anything with the Oregon Trail license these days, are they? You could potentially get this into elementary schools as edutainment, although the breastfeeding scene might stick it with an M rating. –Chris Kohler[...]

The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer

This is probably best handed off to Eternal Darkness developer Silicon Knights. Not because of the company’s prowess for literary borrowing, but because it pulled off the whole multiple-protagonist thing pretty well already. Lots of potential upside for downloadable microtransactions: Think individual horse armor for all 24 characters. Plus, they could sell the Parson’s Tale segment as a GameStop exclusive. Also, what’s this bit about the Wife of Bath? Sexy shower scene incoming! Woo woo! –Chris Kohler
My own suggestions:
  • Beowulf, for obvious reasons.
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding, as chaos is always thrilling in a game.
Just think -- in the future, high school kids might try to get out of reading for their English classes by playing the video game version instead of watching the movie version.

What would classic works of literature would you like to see as video games?


Anonymous said...

"...high school kids might try to get out of reading for their English classes by playing the video game version instead of watching the movie version."

The movie versions are unsafe enough; the producers keep changing things around -- the end of "Anna Karenina," for instance, where Greta Garbo was supposed to have thrown herself under a train, but instead lived happily ever after, that being the ending that played best with the focus groups -- but the game versions, subject to change by the roll of a digital D20, would be useless for avoiding reading.

This would supply some entertainment for the teachers, though, as they were marking big red "F"s on big stacks of half-literate papers.

Dan Trabue said...

Moby Dick. Frankenstein.

Anonymous said...

Moby Dick - Pick a name; get a second bowl of chowder; avoid Queequeg's harpoon; negotiate a wage; butcher whales until you level up. The expansion pack would be an excursion to Typee and Omoo.

John said...

Moby Dick could really work. Better than the Grey's Anatomy game, at least.

Rich said...

To Kill a Mockingbird.
Think, Duckhunt.

bob said...

Last of the Mohicans would make an interesting game. Indians to fight and maidens to save what else do you need.

Bob Hawkins said...

"Tristram Shandy." The objective is to progress through the game in at least real time, so you don't fall any farther behind. (Unlike the author, Laurence Sterne, who didn't even get to Tristam Shandy's birth until part 3, and fell farther behind with each additional release.)

John said...

Ha! Good, Rich. The software is already available. All that's necessary is a little bit of image alteration.

John said...

bob, I haven't read Last of the Mohicans, but the movie certainly had enough action in it to justify a game.

John said...

Bob Hawkins, that's a new one to me. I just looked it up. It looks like an 18th Century version of Leisure Suit Larry.