We have hundreds, even thousands, of years of literature to draw from -- yet so little of it has been used for source material for games. Early next year, Electronic Arts will release Dante's Inferno, a very loose adaptation of part of Dante Alighieri's epic poem The Divine Comedy, written in the 14th century.
While it's debatable how respectful the game's content is to the original source material, it's true that the works of the past are a resource that could be tapped much more effectively in the creation of gameworlds.
Game Career Guide challenged its readers to adapt a piece of literature -- contemporary, medieval, or somewhere in between -- into a game. It could be in any genre of literature or gaming -- the core concept is how compellingly you turn it into a game idea. How will you adapt from one medium to the other? What will you cut? What will you keep? What will you change, and what will stay the same?
Winning entries effectively translated literary works into game narratives, while also keeping in mind the medium's inherent tropes and limitations.
What follows are the best and most original entries we received. Here are our top picks:
William R. Spear, The Conquerer Worm (see page 2)
Spear collects a number of Edgar Allen Poe's works in the unlikely context of an iPhone platformer. The contrast between Poe's morbid seriousness and the frivolity of a mobile constant-motion platformer is brilliant, and the questionable interpretations of Poe's stories fit well with the motives of an amateur Apple App Store developer. Even the hastily mocked up title screen looks like it was taken directly from an actual iPhone title.
Paolo Tajè, The Odyssey (see page 3)
And Then? Odyssey! is an interactive retelling of Homer's epic poem. Using a simple Flash-based interface, players can experience the story in full and explore alternate possibilities not found in the original text. With some modifications, this entry could make an ideal teaching tool.
Emily Greenquist, The Picture of Dorian Gray (see page 4)
Greenquist takes a complex story and weaves it into a solid game concept. The Picture of Dorian Gray, as a horror-themed RPG, puts players in the role of an amoral protagonist who must eventually face the consequences of his actions. Though the experience would be a largely passive one for the player, the depth in narrative promises a rich payoff.
Marius Smit, Noah's Ark (see page 5)
Nicolas Barrière-Kucharski, Animal Farm (see page 6)
Jay Chaffin, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (see page 7)
Srinu Kandela and Fola Akinola, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (see page 8)
Terumi Tamaki, Romeo and Juliet (see page 9)
Justin Brown, The Mayor of Casterbridge (see page 10)
Shaun Conde Spelman, The Hunting of the Snark (see page 11)
Evan Glover, The Zombie Survival Guide (see page 12)