Michelle Parnett-Dwyer

Pirates Sail on the Video Game Screen

Homer and Cicero wrote about incidents involving sea robbers that threatened the trading routes of Ancient Greece and Rome more than 2,000 years ago. Since then, each era has encountered new brands of pirates. Popular culture today glorifies the picture of a band of outlaws who are guided by the wind and their own set of rules—consider swashbuckler Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. In recent years, many video game designers adapt tales of the sea to attract pirate aficionados to interactive game play.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Pinball: Two Pieces of American Culture

L. Frank Baum's classic novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, captivated generations of audiences with its iconic characters, adventurous storyline, and captivating setting. Published in 1900, the novel inspired countless adaptations in a variety of mediums including stage plays, films, novels, and video games. The Wizard of Oz film, released in 1939 by MGM, remains a legendary title and cultural icon. This summer, visitors to The Strong’s Pinball Playfields exhibit have the opportunity to play The Wizard of Oz pinball.

Explore Your Reading List with These Video Games

My reading list seems to grow longer each year. It seems impossible to read all of the intriguing titles available; the Library of Congress alone has approximately 838 miles of bookshelves. If you’re like me and you’d like to tackle more of your reading list or if you’d like to take your reading beyond the beaten path, you might try out a few video games based on books.

Video Games Showcase the Human Experience

Storytellers help listeners to connect to experiences. Current storytelling projects such as The Moth, Story Corps, and Human Library showcase human experience through various media platforms. Video games today demonstrate how storytelling continues to evolve. The format allows players to interpret the game and to make in-game decisions that affect the fate of the characters and the plot of the story.

Video Game Designers Partner with Writer Neil Gaiman

Novelists have collaborated with video game designers to create interactive fiction for decades. In 1984, author Douglas Adams and computer game developer Steve Meretzky paired-up to turn the Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy series into an interactive fiction video game. Cyberdreams later worked with author Harlan Ellison to turn his short-story, “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream,” into a point-and-click adventure game.

Video Games Explore Ancient Myths and Folklore

Scholars’ perceptions of mass media’s impact on folklore and mythology are complicated. Some scholars believe that tale dissemination via movies, television programs, and video games encourages viewers to rediscover classic stories. Others argue that film adaptations of folk and myth narratives may create “definitive texts,” which threaten to “replace the more fluid oral variants.” What is at stake when we adapt folklore and mythology to mass media? I suspect it leads to engaging discourse and creative expression.

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