I'll take "Understatement" for a thousand, please

I was listening to NPR today, where the discussion was of a new video game based on Dante’s Inferno.  During the discussion, the following profound thought was expressed: “You lose a lot when you go from epic poem to video game.”

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0 thoughts on “I'll take "Understatement" for a thousand, please”

  1. They obviously didn’t read the part where Dante eviscerated the breast-demons with a 10 foot scythe made out of bones and hatred.

  2. That reminds me of a question I’ve been meaning to ask.

    When is the Dragaera series going to be translated into a pinball game? Or an iPhone game app?

  3. I heard the same story – synopsis is they used the maps and descriptions of the original, added a plot (rescue) and then added a combat engine. Lets face it – even books written with the intent of making movies rarely survive film adaptations intact, so it’s actually an impressive thing that they were able to keep as much of the original as they did.

  4. Back in the early 1990s, there was a joke about an edutainment game based on Dante’s Inferno. The title: “Where in Hell is Carmen Sandiego?”

  5. Culture has unfortunately devolved into mindless entertainment. Too many don’t care what’s going on around them as long they have thier football, nascar, video games, et al. What percentage actually read classic literature anymore. Certainly not in our public schools.
    For the Dragaera game app you could have Devera show up to give frustratingly oblique hints.

  6. My home PC met the blue screen of death recently and now I have to thank you all for making me laugh loud and inappropriately inside the public library.

  7. I’m still waiting for the Jane Austen fighting game.

    Pride Fighting: Extreme Prejudice

    “Take THAT, Mr Darcy!”

  8. I confess I haven’t read Inferno since high school which was a painfully long time ago… My memory of it is that it’s primarily a long list of horrible things being done to a combo of a) historical (for Dante) and Biblical figures, and b) a whole bunch of Italians that sounded like contemporaries of Dante’s, whom he clearly thought should burn in hell for various reasons.

    Why wouldn’t that make an awesome game?

  9. Majikjon: The book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is old news by now, but not everyone may know that Natalie Portman will be playing Elizabeth Bennet in the movie adaptation.

    I have no word yet on a game. :)

  10. An interesting thing I have heard about this game is that it is packaged with the complete text.

    Also, it could be worse. They could have based the game on the AD&D adaptation of Inferno.

  11. Oh, let’s be clear: I have no objection at all to the existence of the game. I just thought that line was funny as hell.

  12. Maybe they should have based the game on Niven and Pournelle’s book. So a game based on a book based on a epic poem.

  13. Kind of along the same lines as:

    “You lose a lot when you go from four-star gourmet meal to microwave burrito.”


    “You lose a lot when you go from Michelangelo to Hi and Lois.”


    “You lose a lot when you go from fine Cuban cigars to licking the bottom of the ashtray.”

  14. It’s a very bad game. It’s one of the most derivative games I’ve played in a very long time. It’s basically God of War set in hell.

    The levels are very loosely themed after the descriptions within the poem, but beyond that it has no connection to the Inferno.

    In the game the Dante in question is a Crusader who fights demons after having flayed a giant cross on his own chest for some reason.

    It’s very bad. The game play is fine, but it’s such a blantent lift from the GoW series that it might as well be called Kratos’ Inferno.

    It’s sad considering that there are a lot of very good games on the market at the moment. Mass Effect 2 is a triumph of story telling. It’s possibly the first game that I actually listened to all the dialogue.

  15. Dante’s inferno would make an interesting video game. It is after all just one long piece of self-insertion fan fiction.

  16. in reply to schmwarf :

    I know an iPhone app developer.
    It probably wouldn’t take much effort to convert the Dzurlord Crossroads Adventure into a text-adventure game.
    This could be made to happen.

  17. Really? I was attempting a dry joke and don’t (and won’t) own an iPhone, truth be told.

    If it could be made to happen, make sure you have Steve’s consent and that he gets a healthy cut in the profits.

  18. schmwarf: I was also joking (not about having a friend, about thinking Dzurlord would make a good game). Damn it the irony button on my keyboard is not working!!

  19. beercrafter: The true artistic challenge would be to create an epic poem based on a video game.

    I once wrote an epic poem based on a D&D adventure.

  20. Actually, it’s more equivalent to “You lose a lot when you translate a novel to a movie.” Well, yes. Duh.

    They’re different art forms. You’d lose a lot translating the Mona Lisa into a written description of the Mona Lisa, no matter who wrote the damn thing. Hemingway, Shakespeare and Tolstoy could tag team and write an epic novel-length description of the Mona Lisa and guess what? You’d still lose a lot. You’d also gain a lot, but that would be original stuff.

    This is why it’s called “adaptation.”

    I’m all for more original game concepts happening in my industry (I’ve been working in video games on and off since 2000) but Dante’s Inferno seems like it’s a God of War clone that misses all the right notes, sadly.

  21. AShortt @ 25: Thanks, I try to brighten whatever corner I’m in; FYI I’m once more risking Silent Smiting by Librarians whilst on this site.

    Effinger wrote a novel based on the Zork game, which I never actually played. Later I read an opinion where the reviewer said the author did a poor job honoring the game- apparently not an “Ode to Zork”. Not knowing any better, I just thought it an amusing read and, sadly, I have no desire to correct my ignorance.
    But, if only time had flowed a little differently, could you imagine another review… “Kerouac’s latest book, ‘On the Road’, was a good attempt, but ultimately couldn’t capture the essence of ‘Mario Kart’.”

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