‘Way’ back in 1990, a little game called the Secret of Monkey Island was released to the masses, becoming a cult hit. Whilst blockbuster gorefest titles like Doom took some of the spotlight, point-and-click titles like the Monkey Island series and Discworld never went away, becoming a huge genre. Part of the attraction of these point-n-click games has been their closeness to books. Lower-end graphics have made them accessible for all, whilst high end graphics adventure games have created immersive worlds. The gentle pace of point-n-click have always brought gamers closest to the experience of a good book. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the reasons you should still be reading and how books have influenced video games of other genres.
The modern world has brought an amazing array of fascinating and distracting technology. Smartphones are utterly ubiquitous, as are portable computers and other devices. Digital devices like the Kindle saw a huge downturn in the amount of physical books sold, which is a shame; though in recent years, the same has picked back up. This is good news, because there are a huge variety of benefits to reading. The experience has a holistic effect, bringing calm and greater concentration to your day-to-day life whilst providing a creative outlet and stimulating the imagination. The following books have all influenced games in one way or another:
Atlas Shrugged is the writer and philosopher Ayn Rand’s cornerstone writing, the story of objectivist revolutionaries in a dystopian future. A controversial book, it nevertheless gave inspiration to one of the most critically acclaimed games of the past decade, BioShock, a creepy story-led shooting game that enacted a similar dystopian world, but under the sea.
Obviously, the Bible is a pervasive book that’s found yards in aspects of nearly every western industry. However, the game The Binding of Isaac, made very specific use of the holy book. An arcade-like game with cutely designed top-down 2D graphics, the game is a very immersive and dark retelling of the tale of how Abraham was asked to kill his son.
I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream
Whilst the short story of this name was originally penned in 1967 by Harlan Ellison, the game brought the acclaimed story back into focus in 1995. Whilst the book was a compellingly creepy and scary story, even by the litany of seriously scary stories available, the game was a point and click adventure. It perfectly ensnared the esoteric horror of the book into an incredibly immersive, true-to-book world.
Most good video games are a story, at the heart of them – and books tell stories. It’s always been that great novels have inspired computer games, and long may it continue.
Written by Jane Sandwood