Games inspired by famous literature
In pop culture and entertainment, we hear a lot about remakes and sequels. Indeed, more and more content is based on past entertainment in some way or another. But what may surprise many people is that this idea extends even into a strange but very strong connection: literature and gaming. Over the years, there have been a number of video games—from small and strange to widespread and popular—based on famous literature. Here are a few noteworthy examples across different modes of gaming.
Adventures Of Tom Sawyer
Few literary characters can match the fame of Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer. In this 1989 Nintendo game, Sawyer was immortalized in all his harshly pixelated, Mario-esque glory. The game begins by sticking fairly close to the story of The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer. However, as Mental Floss notes in its description of the game, it quickly spirals into a very bizarre take on the adventure. In the end, it’s more a crude Mario Bros. game disguised as a literary tribute than anything else, but it’s still fun for the lit majors out there.
This is a more recent game, designed in 2010 for Xbox 360 and PS3 by Visceral Games. It was met with a pretty horrible reception, because it’s a blatant ripoff (or if we’re being nice, imitation) of the God Of War franchise. Still, it’s at least loosely based on Dante’s Inferno, which is easily one of the most famous pieces of literature in world history. Plus, if you forget the general concept of it being a ripoff, the game on its own is pretty entertaining for epic combat lovers. Dante fans, perhaps not so much.
Captain Nemo Slots
This is a slot machine game that’s managed to make the rounds on the web. It uses art and themes inspired by Jules Verne’s infamous Nemo character. Featured most prominently in the 1870 masterpiece Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea but also in other works by Verne, Captain Nemo is essentially an explorer and adventurer who commands the Nautilus submarine. The slot machine game of course has little to do with any adventure beyond pulling a digital lever, but the artwork is nonetheless a fun tribute to the literature. Intercasino features the game, which was developed by Amaya, with a free-play option for those intrigued by the idea but not interested in spending any cash.
The Great Gatsby
Undeniably the best game on this list, both for gameplay and as a literary tribute, this game is a little bit of a mystery. It’s designed and presented as an old school Nintendo game (and does a beautiful job of playing this role). However, according to the aforementioned Mental Floss article, it was actually created in 2011. Whatever the case, the game actually makes a firm effort to stay true to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel of the same name.
You control Nick Carraway, the book’s narrator and protagonist, and make your way through Gatsby’s glamorous parties and various chaotic scenes of the 1920s setting. The music is fun, the gameplay is simple but enjoyable (also a bit Mario-ish), and it’s all a clear shout out to the Gatsby of literature. And lucky for us, it has its own website.
For a few more titles in the literature-inspired gaming category, Buzzfeed has a list of mostly simple but amusing games. But these are four of the highlights in terms of combining literary flavor with gaming enjoyment. All in all, it’s a busier sub-genre than we ever assumed!
Piece by Doug Travers, a longtime bookworm and video game aficionado. He lives in New York City with his girlfriend, Dawn, and two chocolate labs.