Saturday, February 06, 2010

Re: Inferno, Reimagined - A Response to Mark's Comment

I was going to leave this in the comments section but decided to post it here because I was having too much fun writing it.


So good to hear from you. Folks have been borrowing good stories, like Inferno and Greek mythology, to create video games and other forms of entertainment and they have been doing so since we started telling stories to each other. Inferno is ripe for such treatment because the landscape and geography of Hell and its inhabitants are fascinating. Witness my own "FailSafe" which borrows heavily from Inferno and Purgatorio (though not Paradisio).

American McGee's Alice" is my favorite video game of all time. I LOVE it and I'm so happy to know that you've played it yourself. I've played all levels at least 3-4 times each. The "Nightmare" level is my favorite. I thought the creators did a pretty good job pulling some obscure Carrollian references into the game. In fact, the game is the source of my gmail handle "dormy." In the book, the Hatter says "Dormouse, wake up. Dormouse, wake up." In the videogame, the March Hare is saying "Dormy, wake up, wake up Dormy" while hanging from a couple of torture machines. For those of you who don't know, this game goes to some dark places.

As for your comments about about films, I'm looking forward to Tim Burton's upcoming "Alice," so interested see what they do with it even if it does sound like a variation of "American McGee's Alice." Also, I read there's going to be a sequel called "Alice II" though the video trailer on the this website was made by a fan and is not official. I might be forced to have to get an Xbox just so I can play the game. What a terrible thought!

Speaking of Greek mythology, I was actually a little thrilled while watching the trailer for "Clash of the Titans" having loved the original movie and been an long-time admirer of Ray Harryhausen. The question is, how good is the gorgon Medusa going to look when the original was so fantastic? Here's a clip from the original "Clash of the Titans" to refresh your memory. Damn, I watched that clip just now and it gave me CHILLS. She is sooo cool crawling along the floor like that, shaking that rattler tail of hers. As a child Medusa was my favorite Greek mythological monster along with Cerberus, the three-headed dog.

Lastly, I found this trailer to "Dante's Inferno" game the other day and I have to say it looks fantastic.

Thanks for commenting and please leave more thoughts about the subject if you want.


1 comment:

Mark said...

And hasn't "Inferno" also been the inspiration for a lot of heavy metal rock imagery? (I love the recent "Brütal Legend" game starring Jack Black with its hordes of netherworld headbangers). I'll have to go read "Inferno" again now, because it's been so long and it was read in the context of cramming for an English class that I ultimately failed (and it most likely over my head back then anyway).

Well, I put down an eBay bid on a used copy of American McGee's Alice" after I read your post, because I never had the game, only a short demo. And if you liked it so much, I've got to check out the entire thing. Better late than never (story of my life).

Oh, I must make a correction on the Japanese "Alice" CD-ROM game. It's actually called "Alice: An Interactive Museum." It was designed by Haruhiko Shono, who also created a couple other early CD-ROM storytelling game masterpieces, "L-Zone" and the original steampunk game "Gadget." "Gadget" remains a source of inspiration to me to this day. He also worked on a film called "Casshern."

Can't wait to see what Tim Burton has done with "Alice." He blew it with the "Planet of the Apes" re-boot, but "Sweeney Todd" was terrific, so I hope it's not too bad. And 3-D to boot.

There's an interesting-looking new game coming out soon for the PS3 that's getting rave reviews for its highly unique, interactive and branching storytelling, called "Heavy Rain."

It's a film-noir thriller in which the plot and characters are the main point, and not the fighting (though there is some violence and fighting, but it's more for storytelling purposes). The website and "trailers" look more like a feature film than a game. Watch the video review at to get a handle on how it works. I just purchased it from Amazon. I think this is the real future potential of this stuff. Moral choices, character studies, and world exploration, etc.

I had no idea there was a "Clash of the Titans" remake! Wow, that's cool. Great cast. The original now sits at the top of my Netflix queue, thank you. I have Harryhausen's other classic, "Jason and the Argonauts" lying around here somewhere also...

Ah...dear... stop me before I write to much. You got my brain percolating. Great stuff.