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From PC to Page: Translating Games into Books

There have been a number of great books that have been adapted into video games, could the same work in reverse? We might have seen tie-ins and spin-offs based on popular series like Assassin’s Creed and Fable but what else lies in the realm of possibility for adaptations from PC to page? 

The Bioshock Series (2007-2014)

One of the Bioshock series’ core strengths is how well it works within the video game medium, using objective-based gameplay to open up debate on free will. In fact, the games use their chosen medium so well I would not propose any of the stories seen thus far be adapted directly. Instead, I would propose spin-offs be made based on the worlds of Rapture and Columbia, two twisted cities representing America’s obsessions. Furthermore, given the implications of Bioshock:Infinite, it is entirely possible for writers to create new conceptual cities too. 

Dishonoured (2012)

Similar to Bioshock, Dishonoured’s world and atmosphere more than invites the potential for spin-off books. The plague-ridden world in which our assassins and soldiers wander through while being played by royalty and aristocracy easily lends itself to the page with plenty of potential for horror and intrigue. Unlike Bioshock however, the idea of doing a direct video game to book adaptation would not take away as much from the experience, as the choice elements in Dishonoured are far less rooted in the game’s core. For those who would love to read a thriller with swordplay, gunplay and magic powers, an adaptation of Dishonoured from PC to page would be a welcome addition.  

Age of Mythology (2002)

Age of Mythology is a spin-off of the revered Age of Empires series wherein you build up civilizations and destroy others in a bid for dominance. Though, whereas Age of Empires might struggle with the representation of colonialism, Age of Mythology (which explores the worlds of the Norse Gods, Greek Gods and Egyptian Gods) has no such issues to sidestep. The game’s two main campaigns, which focus on preventing the rise of the Titans, would make for a thrilling story if translated from PC to page. We could see our heroes travel across the land, building bases and fighting hordes of enemies to save Atlantis. With some narrative tweaks and character development, this could easily make for a thrilling series. Perhaps Percy Jackson’s Rick Riordan would be an appropriate author.

Limbo (2010)

Limbo is a 2D platformer set in an atmospheric, purgatory-like world wherein you search for your sister through a series of puzzles and die, a lot. The game’s approach to its world is minimal which works perfectly for a game, but less so for a book. With some modifications however Limbo could easily make an interesting, albeit extremely dark children’s/young adult tale, preferably written by Patrick Ness. The relationship between the siblings could be explored, the rest of the world given more clarification and maybe there could turn out to be more to the spider that relentlessly hunts you across the black and white landscapes than previously realised.  

Zoo Tycoon (2001)

Stories set in Zoo builders may seem counterintuitive until you remember what most people actually do when they play: turn them into death traps with higher body counts than Jurassic Park. Like Age of Mythology writers could have their characters be the god-like overseer or someone trapped in the mayhem of either trying to pull together a successful zoo or watch it burn as the lions escape and a mysterious new fence blocks the exit. 

Pong (1972)

This could be the most fascinating philosophical read of all time. What does the ball think as it ricochets between two immovable walls?

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