November's Uncut Book Box them is GAME, so let's talk about our Top 5 games based on books! Of course, this list is not based on the enjoyment scale, but rather games that have roots or were directly based upon novels. Let's dive right in!
1. The Witcher
The Witcher is based on The Witcher book series by Andrzej Sapkowski, which started out first as a collection of short stories. With the success of The Saga, the full-length novels following these short stories, suddenly launched Sapkowski and his series into popularity in Poland. It wasn’t long until The Witcher’s video game adaptation in 2007 that other readers around the world began to take notice.
Both The Witcher stories and games feature the same cast of characters, but take place years after the events of The Saga. There are five total books in the original saga written between 1994 and 1999, two of which are still being translated into English, and a sixth written in 2013 that serves as a prequel to the first book.
2. The Dark Eye
The Dark Eye is basically a weird computer horror adventure from 1995 lets you explore, from multiple points of view, and is based on three Edgar Allan Poe stories: The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, and Berenice.
A lot of the horror in The Dark Eye is owed to its unusual visual style as much as Poe's nightmarish tales: a mix of eerie, pre-rendered CGI backdrops and unsettling claymation characters that add an element of uncanny realness to the rigid 90s graphics.
In addition, the game also features voice acting by famous Beat-era writer William S. Burroughs, famous for his novel Naked Lunch. The Dark Eye was developed by Inscape, the now-defunct game publisher also responsible for Bad Day at the Midway, the 1995 adventure game based on avant-garde music group The Residents. Interesting!
3. Assassin’s Creed
Some games we’ll discuss are more or less direct adaptations of their source material, but there are plenty of original games that still owe several of their ideas to works of literature. Assassin’s Creed is included in that category.
The first Assassin’s Creed game was actually inspired by the 1938 novel Alamut by Vladimir Bartol.
The novel is set in Alamut, which was a real Persian fortress located about 60 miles from what is now present-day Tehran. In the early 11th century the Alamut fortress was controlled by, a missionary named Hassan-i Sabbah and his assassin collective (starting to sound familiar to any gamers?) These historical facts were used in the novel Alamut and then adapted into the Assassin’s Creed game.
A line taken directly from the novel, “Nothing is an absolute reality, all is permitted,” is used nearly word for word in the game, which states: “Nothing is true, everything is permitted.”
Taking away the sci-fi elements, Assassin’s Creed is historical fiction, so it makes sense that the book it’s based on is also rooted in history.
4. Parasite Eve
Parasite Eve the video game is interesting because it acts as a sequel to the book it’s based upon. The novel Parasite Eve was written in 1995 by pharmacologist, Hideaki Sena and will make you shiver and quake from your own cells… or bore you to death with an overabundance of medical lingo and jargon.
In any case, Parasite Eve’s (the game) bizarre exploration of human biology is not something commonly found in the horror novel genre beyond notable authors such as Crichton or Cronenberg. Serial killers and crazy clowns are a staple of the American horror genre, that much is certain. But, biochemical monstrosities featuring sentient mitochondria that can birth beings with the ability to rewrite their own genetic code is an entirely different ball game.
5. I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream
Based on Harlan Ellison’s 1967 short story I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, is the basis for the adventure game of the same name, arguably has the worst.
Like the game, the Hugo-award winning tale stars a sentient supercomputer called AM, which is actually three powerful machines merged into one very angry, humanity-hating master computer. One day, AM ditched its designed purpose of waging World War III and single-handedly whittled the entire human race down to only five people, who it’s already spent years torturing when the story begins. Horrifying, no?
Bonus Time... BioShock
Not a game you’d expect, right? However, if you pay enough attention you can see that Ayn Rand is all over BioShock. The city of Rapture was founded on the principle of pure self-interest, the same idea that fuels Rand’s objectivist philosophy.
Andrew Ryan himself is basically named after Ayn Rand. Similarly, you have Frank Fontaine, named after Rand’s novel The Fountainhead, and Atlas, named for Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged. Posters found around the game ask: “Who is Atlas?” similar to the repeated question: “Who is John Galt?” taken from Atlas Shrugged.
We can go on forever with the details, but more broadly, BioShock is an exploration of Ayn Rand’s philosophies depicted from her novels and is a critical critique of how absurdly bad things can become if objectivism is applied on a grand, fantastical scale. Yowza.
What'd you think of our Top 5 list? Comment, share, follow below!