Gaming has a history of interconnecting with other mediums. The fusion between cinema and video games is now a staple of pop culture, although game movie adaptations have had their shortcomings. But the gaming industry has also found inspiration in literary works. From sci-fi classics to fantasy novels and modern horror, books have provided a framework for developers to expand on pre-existing lore or take the creative liberty to build around it. And video games have proven the perfect medium for an immersive incursion into a book’s universe. Here are four titles that merge books and games to perfection.
The Witcher Series
For gamers, The Witcher franchise barely needs an introduction. The monster-slaying adventures of Geralt of Rivia have sold millions of copies worldwide, spanning three mainline instalments alongside spin-offs and expansions. CD Projekt’s flagship action RPG also showed that video games and literature were an engaging match.
The Witcher is grounded in the works of Polish novelist Andrzej Sapkowski. In 1986, the author entered a writing competition with a short retelling of a Polish tale. A year later, readers were so enthralled that the short stories grew into a fantasy series about the titular Witcher. And in 2007, the first Witcher game continued the saga’s main storyline on PC and consoles. The franchise’s smashing success might have overshadowed the original books. Still, the meat of The Witcher’s complex lore and characters stems from the imaginative mind of Sapkowski.
The Metro Series
The Metro franchise is a one-of-a-kind example of synergy done right between mediums. Not only does this series of first-person shooter games draw from a novel, but the games and books actively feed into each other’s narratives. Whether in print or on screen, all the Metro stories share a common setting in a fictional world imagined by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky in his Metro 2033 novel.
All stories take place in a post-apocalyptic Russia rendered inhospitable by nuclear bomb strikes. While the first game in the series is a faithful adaptation of the 2005 publication, the following entries establish a unique back-and-forth, inviting gamers to read the Metro 2034 and Metro 2035 novels to get the full story. Metro Exodus came concluding the saga in 2019 to critical acclaim.
Call of Cthulhu
Lovecraftian horror has imbued the minds of countless creators. The horror movie genre owes much to the works of the American author, while mystery flicks also rank among the best H. P Lovecraft-inspired films. Several tabletop games similarly build upon the Cthulhu Mythos. And just as many video games refer to Lovecraftian themes, albeit indirectly.
Cyanide’s Call of Cthulhu takes a more direct approach. This 2019 survival horror RPG draws inspiration from the eponymous short story published in 1928. In an interesting case of gaming symbiosis, the title also acts as an adaptation of the 1981 tabletop game known to fans as CoC. Replete with mystery and exploration in a semi-open world, this atmospheric game is a clever take on the Lovecraftian genre.
Published in 2014, Watch Dogs is an interesting subversion of the book to video game dynamic. Whereas most games derive their storyline from a literary work, Watch Dogs expanded its universe with an original novel tying in with the game’s events. Penned by John Shirley, Watch Dogs: Dark Clouds was released digitally on the same day as the series’ first instalment. The book and subsequent graphic novels act as compelling follow-ups for fans who can’t get enough of the games.
And fans responded positively, as the saga quickly gained a cult following. With its atmospheric open world and thrilling side missions à la GTA, Watch Dogs was a smashing hit. Gamers also lauded its gambling mini-games, including some memorable poker sessions, which were especially popular in countries with no brick-and-mortar casinos to visit. But online casinos have provided an alternative since then. In Thailand, for instance, players might enjoy poker online or โป๊กเกอร์ออนไลน์ in the Thai language. Both classic and fun variants are available, and even real-time video poker. This platform is in Thai and other Asian languages so that gamblers in Asia can test top platforms for free before wagering real money. Plus, generous bonuses await upon sign-up.
Our list has covered some great games with connections to books. Of course, you may find many more entries taking direct or indirect inspiration from published authors. For avid readers and passionate gamers, the gift keeps on giving.