By February 10, 2010 3 Comments Read More →

Which new books would make good video games?

DanteAll right, I’ve kind of been tuning out all the media hype around the new Dante’s Inferno video game — maybe I’m worn out from thinking of new titles for Quirk Classics, or maybe it just seems like the classic lit/video game jokes write themselves. (I love NPR’s observation that “some Dante scholars bristle at the liberties the game takes with Dante’s story.” Like they’d play the game if only it were more faithful to the author.)

Dante's InfernoYesterday, writers at Wired suggested “10 Literary Classics That Should Be Videogames” which seemed like it should have been funny but just felt sort of flat:

Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain

From this celebrated story of childhood adventure, we get a hybrid game of social engineering and extreme whitewater rafting. Half the game is Mass Effect-style dialogue trees: Pick the right option and you’ll convince the neighborhood kids to whitewash the fence for you; fail and you have to play a 30-minute Quick Time Event. The latter half of the game controls almost identically to Toobin’. –Chris Kohler

Today I started thinking about contemporary books that might have good video-game spinoffs. The first one that leapt to mind was Adam Davies’ hilarious Mine All Mine. I’m no game designer — truth be told, I’m not even a game player. My last regular gaming adventures took place in the age of Galaga. But I have glimpsed this brave new world of immersive, narrative-intensive video games, and a smart-but-cartoony tale of a security guard fighting the Rat Burglar could be just the ticket.

What other recent novels would make good video games?



About the Author:

Keir Graff is Executive Editor of Booklist Publications and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix (2011). Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Keir.

3 Comments on "Which new books would make good video games?"

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  1.' Mary Fran says:

    This was discussed on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me this weekend. They proposed other mash-ups with classic lit (as opposed to recent novels, as Keir requested) with such goodies as “Don Quixote Kong,” “A Hundred Years of Solitaire,” and Hemingway’s classic, “Pacman and the Sea.”

  2. Laura says:

    Lots of possibilities in children’s and YA lit. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (a 2010 Newbery Honor Book) or The Mysterious Benedict Society titles come to mind. The Percy Jackson series and the Hunger Games trilogy are obvious picks too.

  3. Keir Graff says:

    I like the mashups–Quirk Classics meet video games. How about “The Road Warrior,” in which a man and a boy pilot a nitrous-oxide-fueled shopping cart through an apocalyptic wasteland. While Donkey Kong rolls barrels at them.

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