What aspects of pop culture feel most egregiously adapted in video games?
I think for me the most egregious example of a video game managing to completely miss the spirit of the original concept being adapted is how World of Warcraft handles the Old Gods. The Old Gods are clearly inspired by the Cthulhu Mythos stories of H.P. Lovecraft — entities like the Outer Gods Yog Sothoth, Shub-Niggurath, Nyarlathotep, and of course Azathoth, as well as the Great Old Ones like Cthulhu, Tsathoggua, or Yig. And they clearly hit all the right Lovecraftian notes at first glance — they have a lot of eyes or mouths or tentacles and are generally abhorrent masses of corrupt flesh that drives others mad and/or threatens to unmake reality.
But the reason I say the Old Gods are a disappointing adaptation is because the real core of the Cthulhu Mythos isn’t, “Look how gross and slimy these things are” — those attributes are merely the objective correlative of the true heart of the Mythos. These entities simply do not care about us or the effect they have on us. The Great Old Ones and Outer Gods need nothing from us. We don’t matter to them. We are insignificant beings who can be destroyed just by existing near one of them.
And that’s what World of Warcraft and the Old Gods lack. They are instead basically cartoon versions of their inspirations: tentacle-twirling baddies who plot and scheme to do bad stuff because even bigger, more evil bad things want them to do it.
Now, it’s hardly just WoW that does this — I’ve lost track of the times that we’ve seen a story take these concepts of alienation and turn them into hack-and-slash bad guys. And it’s hardly the only idea like that which gets abused in adaptation — one need look no further than Anthem for a game story that tried to borrow from space opera and ended up not sticking the landing.
So what about you? What idea from literature, TV, or movies have you seen pop up in a video game and almost immediately thought was absolutely less than successfully brought forward?
Please consider supporting our Patreon!
Join the Discussion
Blizzard Watch is a safe space for all readers. By leaving comments on this site you agree to follow our commenting and community guidelines.