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5 Literary Works That Inspired Video Games

We tend to think of video games and movies as having a lot of crossover. Movies have inspired video games for decades now, and more and more we’re seeing that the reverse is true as well. In just the next year, for instance, we’re going to see adaptations of games ranging from Angry Birds to Assassin’s Creed on the big screen.

But in addition to frequent movie crossovers, there are also a lot of occasions on which classic works of literature have inspired video games as well. And while many of these games have been of somewhat dubious quality, these five literary works actually led to games worth exploring.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

This renowned book series by Douglas Adams first came out way back in 1979, and as this list of video games based on popular books points out, the game actually wasn’t that far behind. That’s because it was designed in the early days of video games when text adventures that required almost nothing in the way of graphics were particularly popular. Infocom designed the game, and it’s actually still recognised as a solid version of the explorative, mysterious gaming format.

Around The World In 80 Days

This 19th-century novel by French author Jules Verne is still one of the most recognisable titles in all of literature. Telling the story of a gentleman and his valet seeking to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days or less to complete a wager, it’s also pretty much set up for adventurous, playable adaptations. Sure enough, the app 80 Days came out relatively recently, armed with its own novel’s worth of story elements laid out in the order you choose as you set your path around the world. And actually, that’s not the only modern game based on Verne’s epic work. You can also find a game here that’s based on the book and built on the idea of collecting treasures on a journey. Instead of being a typical journey, however, you’re tasked with matching up imagery from the narrative with the hopes of making a lil’ extra cash.

The Great Gatsby

Seen by many as the closest thing to a definitive “Great American Novel” (a concept that writers still talk about half-jokingly), The Great Gatsby has proven to be a timeless piece of literature. Just two years ago, the book was adapted yet again for cinema, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire starring as the two main characters. But The Great Gatsby has also been turned into a video game, albeit one that by now is kind of dated. Debate rages over whether the game was actually made for NES or simply designed as a standalone, independent experience, but either way, you can play it here. Gatsby fans will find it pleasantly overflowing with symbols and themes from the book.

Dante’s Inferno

Another work that is truly among the most famous in the history of the written word, Dante’s Inferno is an epic poem about a descent through the circles of Hell. And naturally, that tempted game developers into creating an action-packed gore fest to further immortalise it. The game was released in 2010 for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, and reviews from players and critics alike were actually very strong, frequently citing blatant similarities to the God Of War franchise, but ultimately implying that such similarities are actually good.

The Lord Of The Rings

In terms of pure sophistication and scope, Shadow Of Mordor can legitimately be called one of the greatest video games ever made. It won game of the year in 2014, and was one of the first action/adventure games to take full advantage of the sheer capabilities of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. It’s also based on the world of Middle Earth that was created back in the 1930s by J.R.R. Tolkien. Sure, the game is a far cry from Tolkein’s fantasy works, but this is a nice reminder that some of the great games we enjoy today and perceive to be based on movies, actually hail from literature.

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