With an upgrade to my personal laptop, I'm finally getting through a backlog of video games that have been on my to-do list for some time now. One such game is the horror/adventure game Alan Wake, which revolves around a famous writer by the name of Alan Wake, who upon being struck with a terrible case of writer's block, travels to a remote mountain town with his wife for some well needed R&R. However, the small town is not as it initially seems, and it isn't long before an insidious darkness begins to surround Alan, his wife and the locals, bringing to light secrets long forgotten.
If you think that sounds familiar, it's probably because it is. It sounds familiar, because the game is almost straight from the pages of a Stephen King novel. The master of horror himself, has spent years penning stories about tortured writers, strange monsters and small town secrets, and has made quite a lucrative career for himself from it.
Alan Wake's story is as expected - very good, but not as good as King himself. And this got me thinking - why are there no video games out there based off King's novels?
With the huge success of The Witcher series, we know that video game adaptations of beloved novels can work, and in fact works pretty damn well, so why is nobody jumping on this train?
Perhaps he doesn't like video games, or perhaps he's rich enough now not to really care either way. But I thought it would be fun to think about - if Stephen King did turn some of his novels into video game adaptations, what ones would I like to see the most?
And here we have it - a fun little list on what is a rainy day here in New Zealand. My top 5 choices for Stephen King Novels to be adapted into video games.
5. The Body
Okay, so I'm cheating here technically. This first one, The Body is actually a novella rather than a novel, but it's one of King's greats. It's also not so much a horror as it is a coming-of-age story. Plenty of you readers will probably know it from its movie adaptation - Stand By Me. It revolves around a group of pre-pubescent boys who upon hearing of a missing kid their age, decide to search for his body. While not a horror story, The Body still deals with some pretty intense themes, and would be brilliantly suited for a heavily story-driven game. Something like any of the titles from Telltale Games' portfolio, or perhaps Square Enix's Life Is Strange.
4. The Stand
A list like this one wouldn't be complete without The Stand - King's post-apocalyptic novel that tells the story of earth after the end of the world, where survivors align themselves to one of two factions - the good side with 108-year-old Mother Abigail, or alternatively, the bad, under the control of the dark man himself - Randell Flag. Of course, comparisons would and could be made with Bethesda's critically acclaimed Fallout series, but where this novel to game adaptation would definitely succeed over Fallout would simply be in the share scope of the characterization and narrative development.
3. Salem's Lot
Pretty much the first Stephen King book I ever read, and the only novel my Dad said ever scared him, Salem's Lot is a fantastic tale of vampirism in the small American town of Jerusalem's Lot. It follows a writer as he navigates his way through his childhood hometown, slowly discovering it is being overrun by the bloodsucking undead. The gaming industry has been lacking in a good Vampire video game since Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines was released in 2004, with the exception of maybe Bloodborne (although that is more Lovecraftian horror than vampire fiction). Salem's Lot would not only be a welcome addition to the gaming world, having the potential to bring some pretty kickass vampire hunting sequences to it, but also, once again as it is King was are talking about - the narrative focus on characters and themes would elevate this potential game to a pretty awesome status.
My list of course, would not be complete without King's Magnum Opus, the horror epic - IT. It tells the story of, much like The Body a group of young pre-pubescent friends coming of age in small town America during the 50s, when a mysterious Clown entity begins to kill kids off one by one, dragging them down into the sewers. Being a huge epic in book form, once can only begin to imagine the sprawling nature of this story if it were converted into a game. Asides from the childhood coming-of-age story, the novel also deals with the same characters as adults, returning home to fight the clown monster in one final showdown. To be perfectly honest, I can't think of a single game we've seen like it, the uniqueness of being able to immerse yourself in the bildungsroman tale of growing up AND having the shit scared out of you by one horrifically scary inter-dimensional beastie... now that would be the game of a lifetime!
1. The Dark Tower Series
If Red Dead Redemption and Dark Souls had a baby, this would be the result. Yes, number one on my list has to go to the gun-slinging Arthurian Knight - Roland Deschain of Gilead. Not only would the scenery in this game be beautifully stunning, imagine the mixture of spaghetti western and epic fantasy scores on the soundtrack. With the difficultly level of Dark Souls, the cowboy badassery of The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, we could be in for a very wild ride as we play over the shoulders of the gunslinger hero chasing down the mysterious man in black, nearing ever closer to the Dark Tower, a immense building that sits at the center of all possible realities.
So that's my top 5 for Stephen King Novels needing to be turned into video games. But what do you, my readers think? Did I pick the right ones? Which King novels would you like to see turned into the gaming industry's next big hit? Let me know below.