At first thought, you’d be forgiven for thinking that surely not many video games based on books exist. Perhaps films, maybe. Even maybe a TV series or two. But books? Surely not! In fact, there’s more games based on books than you’d think, and in celebration of World Book Day, we’re revisiting some of the best games to be based on novels or literary characters…
1. Dante’s Inferno
Visceral Games’ 2010 epic battle through hell is actually based on the famous 14th century poem The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. The first canticle of the poem is ‘Inferno’, hence Dante’s Inferno. The game is available on Xbox 360 and PS3.
2. Parasite Eve
PS1 horror classic Parasite Eve is a video game sequel to the book Parasite Eve by Hideaki Sena. Published in Japan in 1995, it went to be adapted into a film and a manga series, and later was translated for the western market and published in America in 2005.
3. Alice in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll’s psychedelic children’s novel has been the setting and inspiration for several video games based on books, alongside many movies and cartoons. One notable game is American McGee’s Alice, which is set six years after the events of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with an older – and darker – version of Alice. The game was published in 2000, and available on PC. A sequel, Alice: Madness Returns was released in 2011 on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.
Terry Pratchett’s popular sci-fi Discworld series was turned into a 1995 game of the same title. Discworld was a point and click puzzler, following the wizard Rincewind on a zany adventure. The game was originally released on PC, and later on PS1 and Sega Saturn.
Before it was the 1992 adventure game, Dune was originally a science fiction novel written by Frank Herbert. The game was developed by Cryo Interactive and published by Virgin, and was available on DOS, Amiga and Sega-CD. You can play a version of the game in your browser at RetroLayer.
6. Sherlock Holmes
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous 19th century detective Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Watson have been the subject of many video games based on books. The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, released in 2012 for Xbox 360 and PS3, is just one of these. Like many Sherlock Holmes spin-offs through the years, the story is original, but based on Conan Doyle’s famous characters.
7. Game of Thrones
George R R Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire is world renowned, largely in thanks to the HBO series Game of Thrones which is based on the novels. Several games have been made on the series so far – with undoubtedly more on the way. The Telltale Games episodic series Game of Thrones is perhaps most notable, along with the 2012 action strategy game of the same name, developed by Cyanide and published by Atlus.
8. Metro 2033
The 2010 horror FPS Metro 2033 is based on the Russian novel of the same name by Dmitry Glukhovsky. Developed by 4A Games, it was released on PC and Xbox 360, and was more recently ported to Xbox One and PS4 thanks to a HD upgrade.