Adaptation and New Media : Establishing the Videogame as an Adaptive Medium

Stobbart, Dawn (2018) Adaptation and New Media : Establishing the Videogame as an Adaptive Medium. In: The Routledge Companion to Adaptation :. Routledge Companions . Routledge, London, pp. 382-389. ISBN 9781138915404

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Adaptation and New Media: Establishing the Videogame as an Adaptive Medium Videogames, whilst a prevalent mode of adaptation, remain understudied. According to Linda Hutcheon, between 1975 and 2010 ‘547 films have generated over 2000 [video]games’ (Hutcheon, 2013, p. 199), either as direct adaptations or as companion pieces. Scholars oppose as well as neglect their study as adaptations: Scott Lukas, for example, contends that the videogame does not adapt literature and film, but rather remakes them. Whilst both of these approaches intimate a preoccupation with film and canonical literature, videogames adapt a wide range of media beyond these media, including graphic novels, television, music, and simulations. Videogame adaptation are not unidirectional: whilst tie-in videogames are frequently made to coincide with film releases, novelizations of videogames are also becoming increasingly popular, and films based on videogames are another common form. This chapter asks how videogames fit into, or depart from, older modes of adaptation, placing the study of videogames as adaptations alongside established methods of analysis. By using what Ian Bogost terms ‘procedural translation’, this chapter shows that videogames can be analysed and interrogated using themes and figures from other media (poetry, film, literature, and television amongst others), whilst arguing that videogames are a unique representational medium requiring new methods of analysis as well (for example, to analyse their interactivity and ludic elements). Beginning with a brief history and overview of adaptation in/of/by videogames, the chapter goes on to ask what videogames do to shape the works they adapt, how they are shaped by adaptation. It treats not only narratological issues of adaptation (plot, themes, characters, media forms, etc.) but also the adaptation of ideologies. Addressing the process and reception of adaptation, the chapter considers how the medium succeeds critically and commercially (or does not) in adaptation. Using a selection of videogames, rather than being limited to the study of a single videogame, this chapter aims to substantially redress the neglect of videogames in adaptation studies. Videogames addressed include: Super Mario Brothers, the Tomb Raider franchise, the Assassin’s Creed franchise, Star Wars, The Wolf Among Us, The Walking Dead, Pokémon, and the Halo franchise and simulation games such as Need for Speed.

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in The Routledge Companion to Adaptation on 11/04/2018, available online:
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10 Sep 2019 14:10
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26 Jan 2024 00:57