IGGPP asked what book (or series of books) we would like to see adapted into a video game…
Inspired by IGGPP’s Twitter poll yesterday, I had a long hard think about what books would translate well into video games. If you haven’t already visited International Geek Girl Pen Pals, you really need to head over there. It is a brilliant community of like minded geeks, fans and generally awesome folk. Thanks to them I have met a few friends on Twitter already and I cannot wait for this months’ draft of pen pal partners (it will be my first time having a real life pen pal since I was about 8!)
So, I’ve been having a think about some books that would work well as video games. Some have already been attempted, but weren’t necessarily satisfying (see my Game of Thrones review on Chaos Hour) and some, I feel, just need to have the right gaming genre (You will notice, as an RPG fanatic, a lot of my choices are RPG-centric). Let me know what you think. This is by no means a definitive list, but definitely some of the books I would love to see adapted.
[Warning: Some of these descriptions may give away key plot points to the books in question]
Gone Series – Michael Grant
I personally think this series would work amazingly as an action, RPG or even a hack slash game. You could even work elements of horror in there what with the incredibly disturbing antagonists and events. You have teenagers with super powers, a bunch of awesome villains and an intriguing story line – what more could you want from a game? Ideally you could start off as Sam Temple and later add different characters to your party with different characteristics and powers. Or, if you didn’t want to go along with the main story line of the book, you could just play a random powered up teen who is trying to survive alongside the events of the main story, helping them out as you go.
There are a lot of elements to this series that would work well in a game – imagine a hide and seek style horror level running away from Drake; or manipulating the main game world as Little Pete; or having to save as many school students from their cement blocks as you can before a time runs out. It writes itself.
Divergent – Veronica Roth
I think this one would be too obvious to follow the actual story line, but hey, that would still work. I think it would be much more exciting to have a game with several different endings and stories. Let’s say you start the game as a personalized male or female character in a faction of your choice (Amity, Erudite, Dauntless, Abnegation, Candor) and you have to go through a tutorial level/introductory level which leads you to taking the personality test. Here you are told that you are Divergent but you get the choice to stay in your faction or move to another one. Your choices ultimately lead into what sort of game you have to play. If you go to Dauntless, you have to go through their training; if you end up in Erudite, you end up working for the enemy. It could lead to making a lot of fun, different quests for each faction that would still ultimately end up falling in line with each other eventually as the storyline pans out.
Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
How this hasn’t been made into a video game yet is beyond me. But maybe the idea of children killing each other is okay to watch on screen, but not so good to re-enact in game form… (but Grand Theft Auto is fine…) The game would pretty much write itself, especially if it followed all three of the books in one game; leading to two Hunger Games and one rebellion. You would play as Katniss, obviously, and I can imagine an almost Tomb Raider feel to the game play. I am already crying at the idea of a Rue cut scene; and doing the mutant dog/recycled teens justice would be terrifying and a great level.
A Song of Ice And Fire – George R R Martin
I know this has actually been attempted, but as you can see from my review over on Chaos Hour, it was a little bit of a disappointing attempt. I would love to see this done in an open world style like Skyrim or Oblivion where you could start as a random adventurer who inserts themselves into the major plot points of the books. Say you start as a fighter in the North and you begin with simple quests for the Starks, you could travel to the South and fight for Ned when he is betrayed or go to the Wall and help with the siege. Either way it would be impossible to play a main character as for one, as none of them are safe (Gorram you George!) and it would be no fun as you wouldn’t be able to take part in every aspect of the story.
If you made it an open world a la Skyrim, and you a random hero who happens to be in the right place at the right time much like the Dragonborn, it would mean you could technically fight for all sides and allegiances and be part of all of the major battles as well as diplomatic funzies. Obviously there would be quests that would lead to main character deaths which would make certain quests unplayable, but hey – Skyrim has the Dark Brotherhood do that, so why not you?
Animorphs – K.A. Applegate
Animorphs was one of my favourite book series when I was a kid. I remember reading them in bed late into the night and scaring myself silly at the thought of evil aliens crawling into my ear when I least suspected it. But most of all, I loved the idea of being able to turn into an animal.
I know that this was adapted into a game for the Game Boy Colour/PC/Playstation but it would be awesome to see these re-invented. The fun of this game is that you would be able to collect animal DNA, like some sort of pokemon master, by just finding animals in game and assimilating them for later use. This would make the game really fun as you would have to assimilate a bird in order to reach higher levels, small animals like mice, rats, etc, so you could get through small holes. Much like the Lego games where you have to play different characters to unlock different areas, this would require you to morph into different animals.
Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
Ending with the most obvious and probably the most challenging. A book about being inside a video game! Adaptation-ception! The fun thing about this is that you would have to switch between the game world where you would be expected to fulfil all of the quests necessary to advance the plot line (including finishing the in-game puzzles); and the ‘real’ world where you would have to avoid capture and safe guard your physical form. It would be a difficult game to script in a way that would interchange between the real world and virtual world well, but it would be incredibly exciting and a perfect game for gamer-fans who would love all of the references to old school game that … mentions as well as 80s trivia and old-school game challenges.
Graphic Novels (Not including super hero comics which kinda go without saying)
My love for Rat Queens is pretty well known, so the idea of playing an RPG of a comic based on RPGs would just be so meta and so awesome! As it is already based on a party of four, playing a four player party system (a la X-Men) would make the most sense, wrangling all four of the character powers which are already complimentary and diverse. Plus, the script would be hilarious!
Attack On Titan
Who hasn’t read these awesome mangas or watched the television series and thought this wouldn’t work as a video game? Hack/Slash pure and simple! I know they have been developed into games in Japan and have had one action title for the Nintendo DS, but with the popularity it has seen in the West, it would be pretty awesome to see a worldwide release.
The beauty of this comic is that it is already perfect for an action RPG. The story and characters are so epic (while also being adorable) that adapting it into a video game would be too easy.
Stuff Of Legend
If you haven’t reads these graphic novels, I highly recommend them. Think a very dark Toy Story with boogey men, death and kidnapping small children. As the story takes place in two worlds, one where the toys are toys and the other where they are real characters (teddy bear is a bear, tin soldier is an actual soldier etc), it would make the game play exciting and fun to have to switch between the two.
Testament of Sherlock Holmes – I know there are quite a few Sherlock Holmes games out there, but this is one that I played recently and really stuck with me. This is actually quite a fun little point and click. The detective aspect is challenging and it is very close to the original book’s style, mysteries and methods. If you liked old school games like ‘Seventh Guest’ or ‘Titanic’, then this game is perfect for you. The graphics aren’t amazing, but it is perfect for fans of Arthur Conan Doyle’s great detective.
Dante’s Inferno – Okay, so this is in NO way an accurate adaptation of Dante’s fantastic Italian epic poem (and probably my favourite book of all time). Beatrice is your typical fridged female character and serves no purpose but to propel Dante through Hell; the history and plot line are completely over the top and highly inaccurate… but, that all being said, it is an EXTREMELY fun game. The imagery is amazingly dark and disturbing and the inclusion of classical mythology is wonderfully done. Overall, if you are not too much of a traditionalist and can see the fun, this is an extremely enjoyable game.
American McGee’s Alice – Again, not in any way an accurate adaptation, but dear gods this is a great game. The newest sequel Alice: Madness Returns is also beautiful with great graphics, character and world design. A very fun old school platform which indulges the Alice myth while turning it on a delightfully dark head.
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring (PS2) – Around about the time of the Lord of The Rings film releases and therefore video games releases (that Palantir of Saruman – what a boss level!), there was a very overlooked PS2 game that followed the books rather than the films. While it wasn’t the best game in the world, it was a true adaptation of the books and (as I remember it) very enjoyable. Even Tom Bombadil was included!
What do you think? What book or graphic novel would you like to see adapted into a video game? What books have already been adapted and left something to be desired? Or is there one out there that you think got it right? Let me know in the comments below…