Classic Literature That Would Make Great Video Games

literature-video-games-2Lately I’ve been considering buying some sort of video game console in order to take fun breaks from Ph.D. music theory reading. I can be bad at taking breaks, but I only have classes on 3 days of the week this coming quarter so I’m not going to be able to just power through nonstop all day (not if I want to maintain my sanity, anyway).

As I’ve been browsing for video games online, I started thinking about how great it would be if they made games based on literature. Some stories would be great as a role playing or adventure game, or at least would provide a great world to explore in video game format. And hence, this post was born.

Behold! Literature that I think would make great video games:

1) The Great Gatsby

Your character could be inside the roaring 20s! You might explore Gatsby’s parties (potentially with a dancing component), visit Daisy, you name it. Maybe you could even play as Nick or Gatsby himself.

2) Les Misérables

The plot is already so intricate that there would be a lot of surprises and plenty to explore. From building barricades and fighting alongside Enjolras to navigating the streets while avoiding Javert, Les Mis would be a fascinating game.

3) Macbeth

This would be one of the more violent games (definitely rated M for Mature…). You could play as Macbeth and eliminate your enemies in order to protect your throne.

4) 1984

Definitely another M for Mature game. But it would be a really interesting world to explore where you would have to be so careful not to get caught by the Thought Police.

5) Ready Player One

Taking the inception gaming to a whole new level…’nough said.


Of course, one of the problems with using literature as a video game is that there are not always happy endings (i.e. sometimes main characters die). So what would happen if there was no “winning,” but rather “ending” the game with your character’s death? Maybe not so marketable after all.

Still, perhaps a player could explore these worlds without playing as a particular character or by interacting in a way that is not strictly canon.

What stories or worlds would you want to explore in a video game? (And do you have any video game recommendations for me?)


Twitter: @ifmermaids

44 thoughts on “Classic Literature That Would Make Great Video Games”

  1. I’ve played games for 25+ years (nerd alert!!) and was wracking my brain for games based on literature. I can’t think of any, to be honest, although some indie games like Teslagrad take some sci-fi themes from the likes of Philip K. Dick and Asimov.

    I’ve also heard a rumour Super Mario Bros 3. is adapted from Solzhenitsyn’s the First Circle. This may be false, though…

    Oh, I thought of one! There’s an indie game called FEZ which is clearly influenced by Edwin A. Abbott’s Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (which was a prescient work for the advances made by physicists a few decades after it was published).

    Man, this ended up being a long comment. Have an awesome Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard about Flatland but haven’t read it yet! That would be a really interesting game… Maybe these types of games don’t exist because book nerds and video game players don’t usually intersect in one person? Alas. Merry Christmas!!


      1. Ha…awesome! (Trivia…The Cure based at least one song on the Gormenghast Trilogy…they liked to reference literature and poems in their songs…now that I think about it, add YA book “Charlotte Sometimes” to that list… LOL)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! And honestly I think I would be okay with not winning, too, as long as there was some sort of conclusion to the story (which in literature there is). I really want to find a video game engineer now! Haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would LOVE a Great Gatsby game. There’s a Hidden Pictures app that’s Great Gatsby, and I had a ridiculous amount of fun playing it. Also, I don’t know if it still exists, but my friends found a Mortal Kombat-esque Les Mis game online that they played. It was really fun.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Try Big Fish Games at – they have lots of literature/fairy tale inspired hidden object and puzzle games, including a whole series of Edgar Allen Poe’s stuff and at least one Romeo and Juliet game. I kill a lot of times on these games, as they’re only about $10 a piece. They’re a bit of a grab bag of quality, but they allow you to demo them. If you’re looking for literature specific ones, I’d go with the Midnight Mystery series or Dark Tales: Edgar Allen Poe’s series. Personally, my favorites are Mystery Files: the 13th Skull, Journey: Heart of Gaia and Plants vs. Zombies.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I always love your posts! Since The Great Gatsby is one of my all-time favorite books, I loved that!

    Here’s my thoughts: The Grapes of Wrath, Pride and Prejudice, Gone with the Wind, The Man in the Hgih Castle, and The Hunger Games!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! I’ve only read Pride and Prejudice and The Hunger Games out of those but I want to read the others at some point. Good choices! What kind of action or activities do you think would happen in a Pride and Prejudice game?


  5. Just stumbled across your blog… Great list! I’d love to see some of these as video games. I don’t think the “unhappy” endings would be a problem at all; if the game were designed well and the story told clearly enough, I think players would be fine with a melancholy ending.

    Also, if you’re looking for a good game with a “1984” flavor, you should check out the game called “Orwell,” where you play as an Orwellian investigator in an authoritarian government… It was nominated for a Game Award this year under “Games for Impact,” so it might be worth a gander 🙂

    I have a couple degrees in music, myself, so I completely understand wanting a break from music theory now and again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, that game sounds really interesting! Thanks for the recommendation. And that’s cool that you studied music! I love it, but there’s only so much your brain can handle before you have to take a break haha, as is the case with anything. Thanks again for commenting and for the recommendation!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My pleasure! Sincerely, I’m always excited when I see a new post of yours so passing this along to you was a natural choice. Honestly, I find myself thinking about your mashups or the questions you pose to your readers long after I’ve finished your posts. They’re often with me all day, if not longer!

        Liked by 3 people

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