Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Video Games: A Personal Hell

As someone who played endless hours of video games a kid, I have grown up to be someone who wishes I hadn't. No offense to people who like games, but it's just not my idea of fun anymore, especially in social settings (damn the Wii).

But I did get a little excited during when, during the Super Bowl, I saw an ad for a video game based on Dante's Inferno. Not that I really want to play it, or that I expect it satisfy my literary expectations. But, from my nerdy PhD standpoint, it seems cool nonetheless.

So I was a little disappointed by the NYT review of it:

It should be clear by now that the story in the game has almost nothing to do with the story of the poem. There is no reason this game could not be set in any of the hundreds or thousands of generic hells that have hosted video games over the years. What Electronic Arts has done, quite transparently, is appropriate Dante’s brand to use as a light marketing skin on top of the God of War clone the company so clearly wanted to make.

And so images of Virgil spout lines from the poem at you once in a while, and Dante’s ranged weapon appears as crosses of light, but there is no heavy religious imagery and never any real sense of horror or torment. There are, however, a lot of bare female breasts. There is even a giant Cleopatra demon who spurts knife-wielding unbaptized children out of her nipples.

I can't tell whether to be disappointed that the game takes little more than its name from Dante, or to be excited that it features Cleopatra shooting "knife-wielding unbaptized children out of her nipples."

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