Guest Post: Top 10 Video Games You Didn't Know Were Based On Books

August 20, 2013
Image Source: Flickr

Video games have definitely reached a level of storytelling sophistication that allows it to be compared with literature. Many of the Final Fantasy games use Norse mythology as a basis for their storylines, including references to characters, events and religion. Still, in the long run, there is no definitive source material for the game.

Video producers have long reached to the library shelf to find ideas for new games. And we're not talking Lord of the Rings, games which probably never would have seen light of day if they hadn't become immensely popular movies first.

Here are 10 games that, successful, fun or otherwise, were inspired by works in the library.

The Wheel of Time
This game unfortunately (a) was on the market at the same time as blockbusters like Quake and Unreal and (b) wasn't necessarily based on a book anyone was talking about. Author Robert Jordan wrote a series of novels that developers hoped to use for a series of games. Alas, that was not to be.

Metro 2033
Based on the novel by Dmitry Glukhovsky, players transverse a post-apocalyptic Russia surrounded by the lethal "Dark Ones." If you ever played the game, you know it was a cinematic and compelling story, unique and atmospheric.

The second game in this franchise (if two games can be a franchise) was based on the movie. The first was inspired by Frank Herbert's classic. Dune is simplistic enough to make for good gaming, reminding fans of the novel why they'd want to play the game.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Author Douglas Adams designed the game. Unfortunately, the game isn't faithful to the source material. It diverges on a completely different path and can be a little difficult to navigate even for the most devoted fan.

I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream
This one has the distinction of featuring author Harlan Ellison as the voice of AM, the story's supercomputer that wipes out the human race. In a world that's now familiar with Halo, back then having your gaming decisions affect the outcome was still fairly refreshing.

The Darkness
2K Games drew inspiration from the world of graphic novels for The Darkness. It's considered a faithful and well regarded adaptation of the work, highlighted by the voice work of Faith No More's lead singer Mike Patton, who gives his malicious all to the lead character.

Dante's Inferno
Is there any other video game based on an actual classic everyone had to read in college? Of course the source material was a rambling poem, so the video game pretty much had to go its own way. Still, traveling the nine circles of Hell taking out its minions has its perks.

Shadow Complex
Orson Scott Card's novel about civil war, assassinations and political intrigue fit quite nicely into a video game. Inspired by Metroid's blow-it-up approach to success, Shadow Complex is a well balanced mix of curious exploration and action shooter.

Alice in Wonderland is a classic piece of literature. Don't expect any true adaptation though. Here, Alice has gone insane after her family is killed and engages in behavior more akin to a sociopath than a beloved character.

Chaos Legion
Never heard of it? Based on the novel by Tow Ubukata, the lead character has to stop his friend from destroying the world. The Legion itself is a group of spirit soldiers that can summoned to our hero's side when needed.

Of course, depending on your frame of mind, there are plenty of video games based on the printed page. Every Spider-Man and Batman game is inspired by published works, right?

Author Bio:
Tmothy Herrera is a gamer and writer at You can find him burrowed either in books, gaming consoles or computer systems.

1 comment:

ana-death said...

Just loved the list, and the cool thing now too is that lots of books are being written regarding video-games, what about u make a list of cool books based on video- games?

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