10 Books That Should Be Turned Into Videogames

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10 Books That Should Be Turned Into Videogames

It’s not often we see games that are based on books. The closest we usually get are games based on the cinematic adaptations of books—as is the case with nearly every Lord of the Rings game from the past decade. Recent events may change that, though, making game adaptations of novels and the like even more desirable than a film or television show. After all, turning The Witcher into a trilogy of games was probably the best thing that could have happened to Andrezej Sapokowski’s novels given the international popularity that Geralt and his companions have now. And don’t forget Metro 2033. Who’s to say that the next critically acclaimed game won’t be an adaptation of a novel you read in high school?

Here are 10 books that should be turned into videogames.

1. Ender’s Game
by Orson Scott Card

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This one is a pretty obvious contender. Published in 1985, Card’s novel follows the journey of Ender Wiggin, a young and brilliant strategist who undergoes training at a prestigious (and deadly) battle station school to help humanity fight against an invading alien army.

How Would It Work?

Tactics play a huge part in the novel, with Ender learning to lead a squad to victory in training sessions—think a deadlier version of laser tag but in zero gravity—so a game adaptation could be a tactical third-person shooter. Of course, that’s the obvious route; to make things even more interesting, this hypothetical game could make use of the social links from Persona 4 and the competitive House antics of Harry Potter in order to mine the wealth of teen angst at heart of Card’s novel. When you’re not fighting in the battle room or simulating spaceship battles, you could be building relationships with your fellow students, which would determine their loyalty to you and their performance on the battlefield.

2. The Sun Also Rises
by Ernest Hemingway 

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The Sun Also Rises is probably the best thing Ernest Hemingway ever wrote, a novel about a World War 1 veteran (with a wound that’s rendered him impotent) being dragged across Europe by his friends and moping a lot while his love interest flirts and frolics with everyone but him. It’s a very moody book about a man trying and failing to find inner peace and love after the war. Several games have tackled the misery of war but these games aren’t divorced from the immediate action of battle itself. We’re never far away from the battlefields where more often than not we’re the heroes shooting down enemies for glory of god and nation without a second’s hesitation. What about a game that focuses on a veteran returning from the battlefield and trying to adjust their lives accordingly? It might not be a traditionally fun game, but I’d be the first in line to play it.

How Would It Work?

A short point and click or even a first-person adventure game filled with voice over musings from the novel’s characters as they try as hard as they can to drink, laugh and fuck away the pain brought on by the war.

(Interestingly enough there is a game called The Sun Also Rises but it has nothing to do with Hemingway’s novel.)

3. Tank Girl
by Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin

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If Mad Max: Fury Road proved anything, it’s that people like rad women kicking ass in the post-apocalypse. Tank Girl, a comic series created in the late 80s, is pretty much that but with a zany tone instead of a grim one, starring a character whose first words were “cauliflower penis” and who has a romantic relationship with a mutant kangaroo named Booga. Even now Tank Girl feels more punk than almost anything out there thanks to a woman protagonist who’s both badass and frank about her desires.

How Would It Work?

Since we’ve already got a Mad Max open-world game on the way that looks, well, it looks like your standard open-world game in this year of our lord 2015, let’s opt for something different. We’d love to see a Tank Girl game done in the vein of Tales From The Borderlands since Telltale has proven that their episodic, narrative-focused formula can be used to create hilarious stories that go against the grain, which is Tank Girl in a nutshell.

4. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum

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The Wizard of Oz is a classic that’s entertained and influenced several generations of readers and fantasy writers. It’s a bit of a shame there haven’t been that many games created from Baum’s rich world; there was a platformer in 1993 for the Super Nintendo that’s pretty good by 1993 license tie-in standards and there was a Facebook game that looks like it’s gone kaput, but beyond that there hasn’t been much.

Perhaps the most crushing disappointment about this is that American McGee, who created delightfully twisted versions of Alice in Wonderland, was working on a dark fantasy version of Oz at one point but the project has vanished after a failed Kickstarter campaign. Boo.

How Would It Work?

So few good fantasy games are made with kids in mind. This seems like something that could be a great game in that genre that’s also accessible to the younger crowd since so much of Oz’s appeal comes from the fantastical delights of its world. A third-person platformer, perhaps, or an RPG in the vein of Costume Quest.

5. The Works of Elmore Leonard

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All right, so this one might by be a bit of a cheat since we’re opting for a man’s entire body of work instead of doing the painful, heart-breaking process of selecting just one novel, but um, we are talking about Elmore Leonard here. Even the man’s worst books are enjoyable reads, with popping dialogue, grim humor, memorable settings, and dastardly betrayals. Leonard was a creative force and his work has not enriched just literature but film (Jackie Brown) and television ( Justified) as well. It would be a shame for some of that brilliance not to find a home in games somehow.

How Would It Work?

A text adventure or visual novel featuring characters from one of Leonard’s works in a deal gone wrong situation. Branching paths could speed you toward wildly different endings. Align yourself with the wrong fellow during a dispute and maybe down the line he could leave you dead in an alleyway. If you play it smart, maybe you run away with your former business associate’s wife and money to Miami to begin a new life while the man rots in jail (or the ground). There’s a lot of darkly comic fun to be had here.