Modern video games take inspiration from a huge variety of sources, but you may not know that many of your favourite games were actually books first. There’s lots of titles out there that are adaptations of, or have taken inspiration from, some of the most famous books out there. Here are some of the best games available right now, if you’re in the mood for a literary experience.
- The Witcher Series
This is probably the most well known example of a video game adaptation of a book series. The original Witcher story was a short story simply titled ‘Witcher’, published in 1986. Author Andrzej Sapkowski sold the rights to CD Project Red, and they spun the games into a hugely popular series of RPG games.
There has been bad blood between the author and the developer in the past, with Sapowski accusing them of locking him out of royalties on the work. However, there have been recent renegotiations, so we’re sure to see more Witcher games in the future.
- American McGee’s Alice Series
When it comes to books, there’s none quite as compelling as Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. American McGee took the original story in 2000, and gave it a very dark and horrific twist. This 3rd person action adventure saw Alice return to a Wonderland that was dark and broken, after a house fire killed her family.
Eventually a sequel was released in 2011, called Alice: Madness Returns. This continued the story of Alice, in a game that still holds up visually. If you love a dark fairy tale, you should look into these games.
- Parasite Eve Series
The novel Parasite Eve, by Hideaki Sena in 1996, explored the idea of of mitochondria being a sentient being that was looking to take over the entire planet. It was a fascinating work, and was adapted into a series of video games.
The first two games, Parasite Eve and Parasite Eve II, released in 1998, and 1999, were designed as sequels to the original novel. The third game actually removed itself from the original context, but all three are well worth checking out.
- Call Of Cthulu
There’s no denying the inspiration that H. P. Lovecraft’s works have had on video games over the years. While many have used elements of his work, others have straight up adapted his titles into video games. This includes 2018’s Call Of Cthulu by Cyanide, who took several Lovecraft stories and adapted them into a game.
This title asks you to rely on your senses, rather than brute strength, to make your way through the strange and twisted landscape. It does take some inspiration from the 1981 tabletop game of the same name, which is where a lot of the play mechanics come from.
- Cyberpunk 2077
Cyberpunk 2077 had what can kindly be called a troubled release, having been rushed out when it wasn’t quite ready. With regular updates though, it’s becoming the game that gamers were promised all along. What they may not have realised is that it’s another CD Projekt Red title based on a book.
This time though, the book in question is a series of tabletop roleplaying books. Like the video game that came from it, they allowed you to explore an alternate future, where you could equip yourself with all kinds of cybernetic implants.
- Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six
You’ll have seen Tom Clancy’s names on countless games, but there are very few that are actually based on his books. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six is one of them.
This was released in 1998, after Clancy helped co-found Red Storm Entertainment. They made the original title, until Ubisoft bought the name and spread it to franchises like The Division and Splinter Cell. Even after Clancy’s death in 2013, there are games being released in his name regularly to this day.
These are just a selection of top video games that adapted famous famous novels. Were there any here that you didn’t know were books first? All of them are great titles that you should try out, so if you haven’t played any of them, now’s the time to do so.
Emily Henry is a book blogger, writing for Top essay writing services and Top Canadian writers. She’s also a tutor for Academ Advisor.