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5 Games You Didn't Realize Were Inspired by Books

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In this article, explore the hidden literary connections behind popular games like "Bioshock," "The Witcher," and "Assassin's Creed" that draw inspiration from beloved books. Uncover the fascinating crossover between gaming and literature!

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The gaming industry has undergone an extraordinary evolution in the past decade. The nostalgic charm of early 8-bit classics such as 'Pong' and 'Donkey Kong' has been given way to a new era where video games rival major movie productions in terms of star-studded casts, renowned directors, and prolific screenwriters.

For those who haven't picked up an XBox controller in recent times, the current landscape of video games might come as a revelation - they're big budget, cinematic spectacles. The rich narratives of novels and storybooks have laid the foundation for many immersive and critically lauded video games. This tradition extends beyond adaptations of book-inspired movies, such as 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'Harry Potter.' Here, we'll explore some of the literary works that have seamlessly transitioned from the page to the pixelated realms of gaming.


Top Unobvious Video Games Based on Books

#1 BioShock

What book is BioShock based on? The video game franchise BioShock presents a dystopian vision directly influenced by Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy showcased in her famous work, Atlas Shrugged. Players experience a world where actions driven solely by self-interest can lead to vastly different outcomes, as the games' endings change based on the player's degree of selfish behavior. Echoes of Rand's ideology are embodied by the character Andrew Ryan—a clear nod to Ayn Rand—and through gameplay that explores the consequences of extreme individualism.

#2 Castlevania

Count Dracula remains an iconic figure in horror, originally immortalized in Bram Stoker's legendary novel. This menacing vampire, who cast a shadow over Victorian London with his bloodthirsty acts and the creation of nefarious minions, sought to quench his unyielding bloodlust and fulfill his ambitions of dominion. His notoriety extends well beyond his literary insight, influencing numerous adaptations and appearances across various media.

One notable inclusion is in the Castlevania video game series, where the lore of Dracula is reimagined. In these games, players embark on a mission to defeat the infamous count within the walls of his gothic residence.

#3 Witcher

In his initial novel "The Last Wish," Andrzej Sapkowski, a celebrated figure in Polish fantasy literature, unveiled the character of Geralt of Rivia. Geralt, a "Witcher" skilled in slaying nefarious creatures, emerged from the pages to become the central figure in a succession of Sapkowski's books, and notably, gained international fame through the acclaimed Witcher video game franchise. Such is Sapkowski's renown that in 2011, when President Barack Obama visited Poland, Prime Minister Donald Tusk presented him with an autographed edition of "The Last Wish," underscoring the author's prominent status in Polish culture.

You will probably be able to recognize more than one book about werewolves, vampires, and other mythical creatures in The Witcher. A great chance to find references is to dive into a story-reading app. For example, FictionMe - Novelslink outside website has many masterpieces in the field of fiction. If we talk about FictionMe, is a platform with a large selection of books, convenient applications for smartphones, and flexible settings. The novel app can also provide voiceovers for books that do not initially provide this.

#4 Stalker

The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise, developed by GSC Game World, is a collection of immersive first-person shooter video games influenced by the Strugatsky brothers' 1972 science fiction novel, Roadside Picnic. The story centers around Redrick "Red" Schuhart, a seasoned stalker who braves a perilous area known as the Zone to retrieve and sell enigmatic artifacts.

Roadside Picnic depicts the Zone as a mysterious and hazardous region, seemingly abandoned after alien encounters. The extraterrestrial presence has imbued the Zone with enigmatic and deadly phenomena, rendering it a treacherous environment.


Furthermore, the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games draw inspiration from Andrei Tarkovsky's cinematic masterpiece Stalker, which itself is a creative interpretation of the original novel. The web of connections continues as the Strugatsky brothers adapted their own work into a novel titled Stalker. In fact, the theme of survival, radiation, and wasteland has inspired many. You can even create novel AI alternativeslink outside website yourself, and you don’t need any incredible effort to do this. The AI does most of the work on its own.

#5 Spec Ops

Spec Ops: The Line emerged quietly on the gaming scene, but its profound storytelling quickly earned it acclaim for its exploration of the complex ethics and psychological turmoil found in combat. While it might look like your everyday third-person military shooter, it's the depth of the narrative that truly sets it apart.

Not widely recognized is the literary lineage of Spec Ops, which draws from Joseph Conrad's classic work 'Heart of Darkness'. This is the same narrative thread that weaves through the acclaimed movie 'Apocalypse Now'. In a compelling twist, the game mirrors the journey of the novella's lead, Charles Marlow, only to transform its character, Captain Walker, into a modern-day reflection of Conrad’s infamous character, Kurtz — renamed Konrad, in a subtle nod to the author himself — as the storyline unfolds to its climactic finale.


Are there any video games based on books? Of course, although these are not obvious competitors, they are now competing for the attention of players and readers among themselves. In fact, they complement each other. While there will always be someone who will say the book was better, true fans will enjoy both the game and the book.