VGL Classic: The Novel Approach

This article is from the original batch of Video Game Librarian articles I wrote for Gaming Target between 2005 and 2007. It was originally written on September 26, 2005.

During this past summer and all throughout the fall, an unprecedented number of licensed games based on television, film and comic properties will be released. And not a one high-profile title can be said to trace it’s source to a book. Although the case could be made that Shattered Union was inspired partly by Harry Turtledove’s alternate history series of Civil War novels. And I’m sure there’s a smaller publisher or two that’s putting out something.

And who can blame the publishers that decided this? Books do not have a good history of being turned into good games. Just look at the Fellowship of the Ring game from a few years ago, the Dragonriders of Pern game that appeared on the Dreamcast and Harlan Ellison’s PC misstep I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream (great title for a game though). But have no fear, a real time strategy title based on the Left Behind series is in the works for the PC. Scratch that, maybe you should be afraid.

But if publishers took a trip down to their local library they could find hundreds of titles that would translate into great games. However, at this point I should mention out that the great Guardian Gamesblog tackled the idea of literary games a few weeks back while this article was sitting half done on my hard drive. While our tastes in books and games differs slightly, feel free to check out their picks in addition to mine. Continue reading