Feb 102010

Jonah reports that a friend of his bought the video game of Dante’s Inferno. He liked the game so much, he went out and bought the book!

Occasionally, I like the human race. It can be surprising in delightful ways.


  3 Responses to “Dante’s Inferno, the Game; anecdotal evidence of a surprising reversal of the slide toward entropy”

  1. Rich, you can’t leave us hanging. You have to supply the link to the blog.

    Also, you know you’re an author on the site. You can write posts as well as comments without going through me.


  2. I don’t think there’s any question that video games represent the general decline of our culture into a fizzle of sensation, and thus should be discouraged.

    Except Marathon, of course. Marathon is a hoot. The game came out about twenty years ago and I got hooked on it and still crank it up every now and then. Campy, mysterious, offhand, sometimes snide — and of course all the action. One of the reasons I am reluctant to pursue action plots in my writing is that I don’t think I could ever match the visceral response stimulated by these games.

    But the guys who made it are quite clever and Marathon is my favorite sci-fi novel. And it does have writing, through computer terminals throughout its world you have to access to figure out where you are and what you’re supposed to do, maybe but not certain why. This is the narrative situation, that you read the texts at your peril because you never know when, while reading, you might be attacked. In one scene you have to read a long report while you are running out of air. There is thematic dispersal that I love and characters are developed by hints and bits and pieces, still left remote and to an extent not fully comprehended. And allusions, which cap it all off for me — Darwin, The Song of Roland, more.

    Marathon came out about twenty years ago, only on the Mac. But you can get it here free, any platform now, I think:


    Video games used to have large worlds with complicated plots. But the last decade the trend has gone to online play, where plot and theme and any sense of good and bad guys and right and wrong have been thrown away, and all you do is kill fellow online players or get killed endlessly. Kill, get killed, respawn and kill again. At any given moment there are 300,000 people online playing Call of Duty, a war game, gloriously rapt in endless and very graphic slaughter. Players have microphones now so they can talk to each other but they don’t do much more than drop f-bombs, and you can hear in the background dogs barking, babies crying. . . .

  3. Rich,

    Of course I exaggerate and contradict myself royally. This is a literature site!

    Sincere apologies where needed.

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