Hate Reading? Get Your Literature From These 5 Games

It's pretty well documented that the human attention span is shrinking. Part of the process is that we've grown used to instant entertainment, and a lot of people have lost interest in things like long films, intricate games, and books that may take a while to get through. That's not to say literature is dying. Hit books still generate huge sales numbers and there are plenty of people who still appreciate a good, relaxing read.

But if you're not such a person and you aren't a big fan of reading through an entire book, you're in luck! You can still get a taste for great literature through a few simple video games that bring classic titles to life in miniature, mindless fashion.

Great Gatsby Game

Great Gatsby for NES has to be one of the most amusing literature-based video games out there. It's pretty simple—basically a dumbed-down Super Mario game cloaked in a different theme—but still oddly enjoyable. As a bonus, it's also pretty true to the story and atmosphere of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, so you may actually learn a thing or two from it. Your task is to control Nick Carraway (the narrator of the novel) as he navigates settings from the book and picks up coins and martini glasses while dodging obstacles.

Huck's River Run

This app from Adventure Works is, like the Great Gatsby Game, a classic video game disguised to resemble a literary tribute of sorts. In this case, the format is nearly identical to Frogger, but the game is redesigned to appeal to fans of Mark Twain's The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn. It's not quite as closely tied to the actual literature as the Great Gatsby Game, but it's a fun little homage and surprisingly addictive.

The Riches Of Don Quixote

Gala Bingo's site is home to several interesting games based on films and pop culture, but also this creative selection that invokes one of the most famous novels in human history. Miguel de Cervantes' iconic work—a sort of literary parody of chivalry—comes to life in amusing fashion in this slot machine. It won't really teach you much about the novel, but it gives you a sense of its often goofy atmosphere and central characters.

Moby Dick

As with anything in connection to literature, this game is pretty much utter nonsense. However, as an online arcade game to get sucked into for a little bit, it's kind of a blast. Kongregate hosts the game, which basically allows you to control a whale darting around underwater gobbling up all manner of sea creatures and breaking the surface to breathe and/or wreck boats and devour humans. Perhaps this is an accurate interpretation of what Moby Dick was up to underwater the whole time in Herman Melville's novel, but that we can never know.

80 Days

Inkle Ltd.'s 80 Days app is by far the most sophisticated option on this list, and it can almost function as a legitimate substitute to reading Jules Verne's Around The World In 80 Days. You play the role of Passepartout, the valet to the wealthy Phileas Fogg, with the task of organising and assisting in a trip around the world. It's very cleverly designed, with several challenges coming up with regard to which routes you can take, how to manage your budget and inventory, etc. And best of all, once you've made it around the world, there's a great deal of replay value in trying different routes.

Consider this your new reading list. With the possible selection of 80 Days, none of the above actually takes the place of experiencing classic pieces of literature. But hey, they're all in the ballpark and they're a whole lot easier!

Comment 1
keithjin's picture

A very informative article that really helped me a lot! Thanks for sharing this wonderful resource!