On Books I Would Like To Play

When I worked for EB Games, especially toward the end, it seemed like every major movie property, and some television properties too, was becoming a video game. James Bond, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, the Spider-Man films, etc., etc.

Books, though? Actual printed books? They weren’t really game fodder.

Comic books seemed easier to adapt to video games, like Activision’s Ultimate Spider-Man game, probably because of the visual aspect.

There were exceptions. For instance, Vivendi had the Lord of the Rings book license while EA had the Lord of the Rings movie license, and Vivendi released a couple of interesting games that were totally unlike the movie-based games EA released at the times. And I liked the Fellowship of the Ring game from Vivendi quite a bit, even if I’ve never finished it.

Or the Forgotten Realms game setting has spawned a number of video games, drawing especially on the novels of R.A. Salvatore. But they weren’t straight-up adaptations of the FR novels.

But I have to wonder.

Would Fellowship have even happened, in the absence of Peter Jackson’s films? I’m doubtful. No doubt it’s easier to take a book, turn it into a film or a television series, and then turn around and turn the movie into a video game.

Was it always this way? My memory for video games, honestly, doesn’t stretch back that far, but there must have been a lost golden age. You wouldn’t think it likely, but somehow even F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby made the leap from the printed page to the 8-bit video game console.

Now I’m imagining a Farewell to Arms video game.

To be honest, the world needs more World War I video games; not only are there so many times you can retake Omaha Beach, but there are gamers who have logged more hours in the virtual-World War II than some of the soldiers served who fought in the real World War II.

I think science-fiction or fantasy would be easier to sell a game company on than an historical piece.

I’ve said before that I’d love to play a LEGO Star Wars game based on Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy. LEGO Mara Jade!

I think that a Prince Valiant game could be really cool.

David Weber’s Honor Harrington books would work as a space combat game.

For that matter, you could go back in time and do a Hornblower “Age of Sail” game or a Sharpe “Napoleonic Wars” strategy game.

Honestly, what I think would be awesome? An Assassin’s Creed or Grand Theft Auto-styled Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser game. That would be seriously bad-ass.

Maybe not as bad-ass as The Great Gatsby, but there’s not a lot in life that’s more bad-ass than a man’s dissolution and destruction in the pursuit of his dreams.

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