5 Horror Novels That Deserve a Video Game Adaptation
It’s been about 15 years since I had the luxury and free time to really sit back and let a video game swallow my soul – err, existence (sorry, I’ve had the Evil Dead 2 board game on my mind lately!). The dwindling interest in games (I admit, I recently cheated, paying Game Shed a visit for a little stress relief) has little to do with the games themselves (oh how far we’ve come from the Nintendo days!), and just about everything to do with enormous workloads and the constant attention that three rambunctious youngsters demand. Sometimes growing up really sucks, and sometimes growing up means living vicariously through our own offspring… when mom isn’t looking, of course.
I abandoned the idea of planting my rear end in a beanbag chair and going to war on Playstation 4, because that method simply cannot be veiled from mom. The explosive gunfire, enormous explosions and fellow vocal gamers across the map tend to generate enough noise to warrant a knock at the door from the boys in blue, a noise pollution ticket already dangling from their paws. But that’s where discretion comes into play. That’s where being sneaky pays major dividends, not just with the wife, the neighbors or even local law enforcement, but with us grown folks who still feel inclined to occasionally slip from reality without being noticed. That’s where God send’s like Game Shed come into play.
The powerhouse game outlet offers a wide variety of downloadable horror games, many of which (The Boogie Man and Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 are absolutely brilliant, and two of the few games I’ve been fortunate enough to play in the last handful of years) far surpass addictive. In fact, a few of these monsters are about as magnetic as it gets, leaving grown middle-aged men reverting to their childhood joys, for hours on end.
While you can enter a myriad of captivating universes courtesy of Game Shed, there are also a few other stellar game providers out there. Steam Powered is mighty close to a genre gamer’s dream come true, while GOG no doubt serves as a fitting alternative. Then again, if you’re simply out to pass minimal time in your own little fantasy land, you can look into Abandonia, where a variety of horror games are absolutely free of charge to download. It’s tough to beat free, especially if you don’t plan on investing countless hours gaming; if you need just a brief reprieve from reality, keep Abandonia in mind. That said, if you’re hoping to add the absolute best of the best to your nightly gaming regimen, you’re going to want to make the full-circle trip right back to the Game Shed, where users have been raving over titles like Slendy Tubbies 2, Real Horror Stories and the fan favorite The House 2.
But enough with all the wonderful titles you can play right now. Let’s talk about a few unexpected titles that truly do deserve to make the transition from novel to game. We’ve got five top notch choices to share with you, and given the promise of each of these titles, the fan embrace and the success of their narratives, don’t be too stunned to see a gaming phenom tackle any one of these options!
Christine – Stephen King
Stephen King’s Christine is a somewhat underrated commodity. Ask a dozen people what their favorite King novel is, and very few, if any, will tell you Christine. That’s a shame, because the book is absolutely brilliant, merging possession elements with a coming of age story. But how would the novel translate into a game?
A nightmarish rendition of GTA is what immediately springs to mind. But rather than speeding through the streets of a metropolis, determined to rob, beat and execute innocent city residents, this one would head in a much darker direction. Set in a small town, part rural in landscape, part suburban, Arnie Cunningham would be the lone vehicle operator (nobody else, and I mean nobody else, touches Christine). The handful of bullies (identified as Shi**ers) who’ve tormented the socially awkward nerd turned vengeful lunatic, Arnie, would serve as both Christine and Arnie’s intended victims. Of course, anyone attempting to get between Arnie and Christine would also serve as fine Plymouth Fury fodder. Collateral damage? Oh yes, in abundance!
Bethany’s Sin – Robert McCammon
Those who’ve read Robert McCammon’s stunning novel, Bethany’s Sin know good and well that the potential for a game transfer is and has been there for the taking, for decades. The story follows a young couple who relocate to a peaceful little community where everything looks and feels picturesque. But there’s a dark secret within this quaint little village, and it’s made obvious immediately, as Evan Reid – the book’s focal protagonist – notices a dearth of male residents in town. But why? Why are the women so domineering? Why do the few men Evan encounters seem terrified beyond belief?
Bethany’s Sin would serve as a perfectly haunting tale where men are the victims and women are the victimizers. Can the game’s hero unravel the mystery that is Bethany’s Sin? And if so, how many axe wielding dames will the man be forced to slaughter in order to preserve his own health and rescue his wife from a mysterious cult who view men as little other than playthings with pints of blood to spill?
An intense RPG in waiting, Bethany’s Sin could spark controversy and major sales given the story’s concept alone. High quality game play could push this one far, far over the top.
Something Wicked this Way Comes – Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked this Way Comes is irrefutably one of the greatest novels ever written. Designed to appeal to the youthful as well as the elder folks of the world, still reliving old childhood glories, there’s something for everyone here. Although the story is adventure oriented, it takes a radically dark turn as a mysterious traveling carnival slows to a stop in a peaceful Midwestern town, evil intentions all but spilling forth from the train cars.
13 year old best friends Jim Nightshade and William Halloway are obviously intrigued by the carnival, until they get a behind-the-scenes peek at some of the strange happenings as the carnival attractions are being unloaded and assembled. Something isn’t quite right with this troupe, and Mr. Dark, the leader of this strange group oozes an evil that anyone can discern. It’s simply more pronounced to the young and impressionable.
What ensues over 300 pages is a reminder that nothing is as it seems, and sometimes, innocence is lost by those unable to deny the allure of the unknown. Jam packed with confrontations with Dark, both inside and outside of the carnival produce some ridiculously chilling moments, and the finale makes for one of the most amazing climaxes ever written. In game formation, the battle to survive the carnival, its morbid traps and menacing carnies could make for wonderful entertainment. Bringing an end to Mr. Dark’s long reign of terror could be nothing shy of awe inspiring.
We want to see this one transferred. Preferably sooner rather than later.
Bubba Ho-Tep – Joe R. Lansdale
Joe R. Lansdale’s Bubba Ho-Tep may be the strangest, most engrossing story written in the last few decades. This story is about three steps beyond insane, and it’s loaded with iconic personalities, including Sebastian Haff who insists he’s Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy, played in the film adaptation by – get ready for it – Ossie Davis. Apparently JFK was way ahead of the body bleaching trend we’re seeing in 2016.
Trapped in a nursing home targeted by a diabolical mummy of sorts, these geriatric heroes must put an end to the mummy’s evil ways. Those evil ways, well… they’re not just evil, they’re perfectly preposterous; the mummy sucks the souls from the elderly bodies in the rest home… right out of their anuses. Yeah, you read that right. But defeating a menace of this nature can’t be too easy, and that ensures that, should this amazing story one day become a game, there’re big challenges in store for players.
Of all the novels on this list to be considered for a game transfer, this may be the most intriguing selection. I’d purchase the bad boy just to see some poor wheelchair bound senior citizen tossed from his chair, only to have a mummy suck away at the unfortunate and exposed chute. That’s the kind of creativity you come across once in a lifetime, if that, and while Bubba Ho-Tep made for a fantastic read and a fan-favorite and lovable watch, it could potentially be a serious gold mine for gamers!
A Little Night Fishing – Chuck Daukas
No doubt the least known title in this list, Chuck Daukas’ A Little Night Fishing is a story that blends carnage and laughs in equal measure. Can you imagine a giant half-man, half-shark emerging from the depths of the ocean to toy with and eventually devour fisherman whole? If you’ve read Daukas’ book, you can certainly imagine it. If you haven’t, well, let your imagination do the hard work for you and you’re still likely to realize the brilliance at work here.
Think of this one as Nintendo’s Jaws on a hefty dose of hallucinogens. In game format consumers would face the challenges of surviving and thriving both on land and in sea. And what makes Daukas’ novel so amazing is the fact that these creatures induce a state of paralysis both in and out of water. They’re bone chilling. There’s no safe zone in this story, and gamers who crave a challenge would no doubt appreciate an unwavering conflict, all cards stacked against them at all times!
Whether you’re in the mood to tackle Real Horror Stories or something else altogether, it’s hard to argue the potential that these five novels could present in game formation. Now it’s time for one of these genius game developers to get down to business and make the dreams of us horror fans an actual reality fit for all!
An interesting and outstanding idea here. Hope to see someone pick up this idea and run with it. Vitina
Bethany’s Sin. Now that’s a deep cut…and a great pick! I think I’d go for Gord Rollo’s The Jigsaw Man. Could be a real twisted game of body part mayhem.