Award-winning author Christopher Fowler, writing for CVG today, asks why more books aren’t turned into video games, citing them as an excellent source of inspiration.
Fowler says: “Imagine a game of JG Ballard’s ‘High Rise’ in which the residents of a tower block go to war with one another. Imagine a game of MR James’ ‘Casting The Runes’, in which the hero must get rid of runic symbols or be consumed by the Devil? FYI, they’ve been trying to make a movie out of ‘High Rise’ for years, and ‘Casting The Runes’ was brilliantly filmed as ‘Night Of The Demon’ – but that was half a frickin’ century ago! Imagine what a game could do with the premise now.”
Though we’ve never heard of those books, we think he’s hit the nail on the head with his proposal – Rainbow Six, for instance, was pretty boss when it came out. So here are our five favourite books that we think would work well if they were showered with coding and level design and all that technical stuff.
Er, keep in mind we haven’t read anything since we were 13, by the way…
Goosebumps – R.L. Stine
The Goosebumps phenomenon covered everything supernatural, from possessed dummies to monster blood to time travel gone wrong. There have been a couple of video game efforts, namely in the guise of crappy PC point-and-click-style-FPS-thingy adventure Escape from Horrorland in 1996 for PC. Wii, PS2 and Nintendo DS saw a Horrorland release in ’08 but are barely worth mentioning. Imagine if the creativity found deep within the entire series was maximised to its fullest. There’s rich pickings there, developers…
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
Mark Twain’s Huck Finn got up to all sorts of mischief down by the bayou , but Huck’s tale still causes quite a stir because of the way it holds a mirror up to 1880’s racial attitudes in the deep south. An interesting thought popped into my head – what games out there seriously tackle issues of race and educate modern gamers with an accurate representation of ‘the way things where’ when it comes to slavery? Huck aiding Jim’s escape could be quite the tale for a 13-year-old gamer to explore in an open, sandbox world.
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
There are games all over the place where you have to look after someone else. Take Ico for instance, or looking even further back, how about the colourful Yoshi’s Island? Set in the era of the Great Depression, George not only has to travel dustbowl America looking for work as a farmhand, he also has to keep hulking, mentally-challenged friend Lenny from causing trouble in a society that doesn’t understand him. I picture a smaller Red Dead Redemption mixed with Ico, filled with side missions to save up money for a farm full of rabbits and alfalfa and such.
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
The only game I can think of on-sea is Wind Waker. And that bored the ever-loving funk out of me. There must be something better: how about Shadow of the Colossus on the high seas, chasing not only the gargantuan Moby Dick, but other enormous sea creatures too like squid, enormous crocodiles and more, all in a steampunk fashion? I’d buy it, but then again I’ve only just thought of it. So there, that’s copyright. Away with you lawyers, shoo.
Superfudge – Judy Blume
Imagine how fun it would be kicking Fudge’s shitty little face in with Kinect.