This entry is a bit more challenging than its counterpart… beyond good story, we have to take into account how well the plot and timing would be suited to interactive gameplay. And then there’s always the matter of copyright. But, I’ll give it a shot anyways.

 The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. Set in Monarchical France, we follow young D’Artagnan as he works to be accepted as one of the King’s Musketeers. With his new-found friends, pious Aramis, brooding Athos, and pompous Porthos, he strives to uphold the honor of the Crown, protect the Queen’s reputation, and foil the plots of the scheming Cardinal Richelieu and his deliciously dangerous cohort, Milady. 

The adventurous plot allows for a large world map with a limited party system. Because of the active manner of fencing, it would be better suited to a real-time battle system instead of a more sedate turn-based system. Given the level of intrigue, puzzles, and strategy present in the story itself, I’d say this story would work best as an Assassin’s Creed or Mass Effect style game with a combo move set-up similar to that in Xenogears.

The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson. Infected with shards of a cursed mirror, young Kay becomes the slave of the Snow Queen and is whisked away to her frozen castle. His childhood sweetheart, Gerta, sets out to find and free him. Facing witches, robbers, and wild animals, Gerta travels across the land, moving steadily closer to the castle and the dread Queen.

This story would fit best into the format of the JRPGs from the 90’s – storyline mixed with dungeons and “bosses” in a pretty linear fashion. There is relatively little combat, so I’d put the focus more on puzzle-solving rather than grinding and leveling through fighting monsters. Players would have to rely on their wits and figure out the best way to use their game environment to their advantage, rather than pulling the old hack-and-slash button-mashing that works so well in your average classic JRPG.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. After his rescue of a young woman, Richard is inadvertently pulled into the world of the mysterious London Below. In an attempt to get home, he joins with Door on her journey to find out who killed her family and why. Traveling with strange allies, and pursued by even stranger foes, their respective quests intertwine and lead to answers that no one expects.

The atmosphere in this book would make it perfect for a survival/horror game with some puzzle elements thrown in (I’m thinking BioShock here). Combat in the story is sparse, but epic when it happens, so the first-person-shooter style would work well. Since the characters often need to use wit instead of pure brute strength to survive, it leaves the door open for some of the decision-making processes seen in KOTOR and Dragon Age.

Part of what makes adapting books to the video game format so difficult is that video games have evolved over the years. They’re no longer interactive novels or movies (though that style of RPG is still alive and flourishing, as for as I can tell).

Games like Mass Effect have shown how exciting the choice-based game can be, and that expansion on the concept of multiple endings (as started in games like Chrono Trigger and Valkyrie Profile), has helped catapult video games into their own category.

So the question is, I suppose, how far are we willing to deviate from the established plots of these existing stories to incorporate this style of gameplay. And, if we were to go that route, can we avoid making our alternative scenarios and endings feel too much like fan fiction?

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