The Joystick Club

We’re no strangers to books being adapted to the screen, whether those adaptations be through movies, television, or the rising ‘on demand’ media such as Netflix or Hulu. Whether or not those adaptations are any good in the eyes of readers is another discussion all together (they’re usually not, TBH), but with the changing tides of media consumption we are seeing more and more adaptations. It truly is a ‘Golden Age’ for fandoms: there is always some new way to explore the worlds we love best. In fact, there is a less traditional route for exploration and celebration that is picking up steam: video games. While one could argue that most video games take inspiration from literature in one way or another, there are many direct adaptations in the adventure and RPG genres. Developers are levelling up, and scoring big with the consumer crossover of literary lovers and video game connoisseurs.


‘The Witcher Series’ is one of the most notable and successful book to screen game adaptations. The games are based on the book series of the same name, written by Andrzej Sapkowski, which have a cult following in Poland. The series was first adapted to game in 2007, and is ongoing. The characters and the world are remain true to the series, but the storyline takes place years after the saga ended. The game is one of the most popular RPG’s among gamers in the U.S., and the books have gained some traction along the way as well. Former Prime Minister of Poland, Donald Tusk, even found himself caught up in the mania of The Witcher game series. In 2011, when President Obama visited Poland, Tusk gifted him with a collector’s edition of “The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.” An interesting choice in gift, to be sure, but – can we all, for just a minute, imagine Obama eating cheetos and playing this game into the wee hours of the morning?


The Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre certainly dominates the gaming world, but other game creators are finding inspiration in some less than fantastical works of fiction. Tracey Fullerton, who is the director of the game innovation lab at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, has spent the last 10 years on her labor of love: “Walden the Game.” One of her favorite authors is Henry David Thoreau. Feeling a particular attachment to Thoreaus 1854 novel, “Walden”, she felt compelled to create a new avenue to explore the world. So, she set her sights on an interactive game where the player could explore the world of “Walden.” You can power up on inspiration while fishing in Walden pond, farming for beans, building structures, and simply exploring the world with ease. July 12th marked the 200th anniversary of Thoreau’s birth, and Fullerton launched this game in homage to his legacy, and created another avenue to celebrate his life.


Every year fans are finding increasing ways to connect with their favorite authors, and be a part of the literary worlds that they love. Whether you are attending conventions, writing fan fiction, playing on Pottermore or presidentially exploring the world of ‘The Witcher’, you are experiencing the Golden Age of the ‘fan.’ Never has there been a better time to join a fandom than now, as there are countless members to engage with, and numerous avenues for celebration. So, pick up your joysticks and start celebrating- after all, these games aren’t going to play themselves!

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