Monday, February 22, 2010

Inferno [You're The Expert]

Obviously a classic, Dante's Inferno has inspired an Electronic Arts video game, Inferno. Interestingly enough, the newest release of the paperback has the same artwork as the video game. The game does not possess the same storyline as the epic poem, rather a more Zelda-ish storyline. Save Beatrice:
But players may find that this version of that pitiless (if strangely satisfying) part of “The Divine Comedy” doesn’t necessarily correspond to their memories from comparative literature classes of yore. In the video game Dante is no longer a reedy, introspective poet but a knight who returns home from the Crusades to find that his beloved Beatrice has been brutally murdered. Her innocent soul has been taken captive by Lucifer, and Dante must chase the archfiend into hell, fending off wave after wave of advancing demons with a mighty scythe.

“It’s a highbrow/lowbrow project by design,” Mr. Knight said. “If you know the poem, the game has a lot to offer. If you just want to mash buttons and kill demons, that’s all it has to be for you.”
That's straight from a New York Times article on the game.

I tend to think that art-sharing between the video game and the cover of a classic isn't a bad thing. It may enlighten some people who hadn't thought of reading this classic before, spark interest into a new (dare I say ignorant?) generation of potential readers, and expand the reach of Dante's work. I was never required to read Inferno in school, but my curiosity got the best of me one summer and I read it on my own accord. But I can't help but wonder if I hadn't read it before if I would want to pick it up now because of the corresponding video game. (even though I've never played the game)

So what I want to know from you are these things:
  • Have you ever been prompted to read a classic because a new interpretation of the work has been introduced in a newer, perhaps fresher or more readily available format?
  • What is your reaction when you see movies or games as covers on books?
  • Do you approve of the cross-promotion between products and their inspirations like shown above?
  • Would this particular art-sharing project tempt you to either read the book or play the video game?

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