Top 5 Wednesday: Books That Would Make Great Video Games

I’ll admit that I’m not a huge gamer, but I’ve always been a fan of video games. I grew up playing Super Mario, Kirby, and of course, Pokemon. My first memory of playing video games is, at about age 5, trying my brother’s Tetris game — where I thought the goal was to build the tallest tower possible. I’ve only ever had handheld systems and computer games, since my parents thought other options like the Playstation or N64 were too expensive.

Over the years, and especially since meeting my gamer boyfriend, I’ve branched out to a lot more games. I still love anything to do with Mario, Kirby or Pokemon, but I also love Minecraft and Age of Mythology. In general, because my time to play is so limited, I tend to play games that are more on the easy/casual side. I do have quite a few games (Final Fantasy VII, for example) that need more of a time commitment, that I unfortunately haven’t had the time to really get into.

I have never really thought about what kinds of books could be good video games, but once I started thinking about all the different kinds of games possible, I could see where some books could fit well.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and the official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Harry Potter by JK Rowling

When I first heard about Pottermore, I thought it was going to be a Sims-style Harry Potter world, or at least a website similar to Habbo Hotel where people could create virtual characters, walk around, and interact with each other. I think it would be amazing to have a Sims-style Harry Potter video game, where we can customize our characters, be sorted, and even go to classes at Hogwarts. The game could include choices sometimes which can gain or lose points for your House, and points could be earned to unlock events (ie. Quidditch, trips to Hogsmeade, etc.).

2) The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein

I’ll be honest, and admit that I haven’t actually read this series yet, except for The Hobbit. I just think this world lends itself so well to an RPG, especially an online mulitplayer one. The way I envisioned it, players would be able to choose what group they want to belong to (elves, hobbits, etc. ), create their characters, and explore the world from the perspective of that character. I would imagine it would be the kind of game where you could team up with friends to go on quests together, with different kinds of characters offering different kinds of skills. Based on my own preferences for single-player options, I think it would also be great to have a storyline option which you can play out as the character of your choice as well.

3) A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

This may be a bit of a strange choice, but it was actually one of the first series that came to mind when I saw this week’s topic. What I had in mind was a Mario-style, very cartoon-y platformer. Players could choose to play as Violet, Klaus or Sunny Baudelaire and rescue their siblings, then reach the end of the level where they must escape Count Olaf or one of his henchmen. As each of the children, there would be different objects that players would need to collect to complete the level. I’m thinking along the lines of Yoshi’s Island, where the baby versions of Mario and friends had different abilities to help solve mini-puzzles within the level. In this game, players could choose to start the level as any of the three children, and once each sibling is unlocked, you can switch between them to be able to do different things. For example, Sunny would be able to crawl into small spaces, while Violet could build something.

4) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I feel like I’ve been using this series in every post recently, but it definitely applies here. I was picturing this as an immersive, first-person survival game. You are given a choice of maps that offer different settings for the games, and you are thrown into the world to do your best to survive against AI opponents. You have to explore and look for resources, food, water, and weapons while avoiding your opponents and watching out for traps. The goal of the game is to be the last player in the arena. Characters could be customized to have a variety of abilities, like the characters in the series had. For example, in the books Katniss was a great archer while other characters had great inventing skills, creative traps, and physical strength. Also, I thought that the game could offer achievements or rewards based on the idea of sponsors from the books. In the book, sponsors pick favourite players and supply them with extra resources to help them win. In the game, these kinds of sponsor rewards could be earned by completing certain actions.

5) The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

This is the option on the list that I was most on the fence about, since it plays into my own specific interest in Tudor court politics. I’m not sure anyone else would be interested in playing this kind of game. I envisioned it as a game where you could play as either Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Mary Boleyn, or Catherine of Aragon, each of which has different goals. The game would be more text-based, where you interact with various people around the court and are presented with a choice of options for what you can say or do in response. The game would take different directions based on the choices you make. For example, playing as Anne, your goal would be to become Queen, so you would need to make choices that earn Henry’s love and avoid scandal to keep public favour.

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