Are The Hunger Games Appropriate For A Full Video Game Adaptation?

Forgive me, I had not heard of The Hunger Games before I posted an item about Canabalt's creator and mentioned he was making an iPhone game coinciding with the film's release. That was a week ago. Since then, I could not avoid the topic if I tried, and not just because of its understandable appeal to video gamers.

That kind of saturation-induced weariness is evident in this public radio editoralist's bemoaning of "inevitable" video game spinoffs of The Hunger Games, and the potentially disturbing effects they could have on adolescent kids, for whom this series is written. It is, after all, a story centred on children hunting each other (in a dystopian future).

To that I say, "inevitable"?

If the kind of full-bore "single-shooter" (does he mean "first-person"?) experience that KPCC-FM's Matthew DeBord describes was being developed under a Hunger Games licence, a) it probably would have released concurrently with the film, and none has, and b) even the most slapped-together movie adaptation is probably going to take a year to bring to market. Let's say some shovelware publisher is already all over this, and Scholastic and author Suzanne Collins do the deed. When that game arrives, is it really going to exploit the kind of interest that DeBord imagines?

Yes, there will be sequels to this film. I don't think it's a fait accompli that one of them gets the full-size video game adaptation treatment. Who knows, maybe Scholastic and Collins understand the potential damage that could be done when their story is now the interactive hunting and killing of children, instead of the (somewhat) sanitised presentation of it. Perhaps they don't want their names on or their franchise harmed by something that could be so easily reduced in a mainstream news controversy and utterly misunderstood.

DeBord himself concedes that the browser-based games and Hunger Games: Girl on Fire -- Adam Saltsman's adaptation for mobile devices -- are "relatively mild" and, in the case of Girl on Fire "kiddie friendly". Still, DeBord says, "The bottom line is that money will be made on stuff that isn't the movie. And that raises some real issues about whether that money is being made on follow-on entertainment that really good for kids." I think he's gone up the stair to meet a man who isn't there.

No Hunger (Video) Games, Please [KPCC]


Comments

    I read the book some time ago, and quite liked it. That said, I'm deliberately avoiding the movie simply because things that are advertised as heavily as this one often turn out to be disappointing (at least to me).

    In relation to the topic, games will always be made on successful IP and if this movie does well in the box office then I don't see why The Hunger Games should be any different, though perhaps not the 'full size' treatment you mention, but but rather something of the 'professional shovelware' variety. The worth of game adaptations often lies in the ability of the designers to do something interesting within the bounds of the source media, rather than simply churn out a predictable game that has poached the main characters from a particular franchise. I doubt that this can really be done with The Hunger Games, but I look forward to being proved wrong.

      Well it depends.

      This was the 74th hunger games in the books so there is certainly room for a prequel

    At first I thought "This would make a fantastic RPG setting, where you can develop your character and their talents, and then be thrust into the arena with the hopes that you made the right choices and trained enough when you had the chance. Games could be the different episodes, eventually your battle hardened character would be unleashed on the morally corrupt world..."

    Then I remembered, yes, that all the characters are kids, and you would spend the first half of my game murdering weaker children. I therefore decided to keep my video-game idea, and rename it "Battle Roya...." Wait.....

    Hmmmm....

    "Running Man": The Game?

    The idea of this story turning into a game adaptation is forthrightly exciting given the scope it holds. The only problem is determining where to limit the scope of players abilities and the size of the battle arena's. I'm thinking of this game being MMOG because it's just so huge.

    I would love to jump into the concept design of this game because it is a confronting idea. How much freedom do you demand of the players and how much do you demand of the designers?

    Maybe if they developed something with Sid Meier's Pirates in mind, they could keep to the story much easier than the books.
    Otherwise a venture into a larger - less linear module of the game could result in mis-interpreting the value of the story.

    Depends how its all done. I could imagine it somewhat like Metal Gear Solider 3, where you're surviving in the jungle.

      I was thinking something similar to this, along with making the fights against the other contestants being almost scripted, event-driven encounters sort of like Shadow of Colossus.

    The best hope a spinoff game would have at impacting on children would be completely disillusioning them by reaching a new plateau of terribleness.

    Just like every other movie spinoff videogame.

    I think it would be a very difficult task, the Hunger Games are always portrayed as an event that should not be celebrated, but if made into a video game it could easily glorify the unnecessary violence of the event. The reason why most other fighting/shooting/killing games are acceptable is the medium and context of the violence is culturally acceptable, such as wars, agreed bouts etc. The Hunger Games is something which contestants don't really have much say in taking part, it is taking advantage of children and forcing them to do things that are not normal, there is no consensus from many of them (the Careers there is) to take part, but they have no choice. I feel that this could easily be done poorly, and without a solid team behind it to really highlight the themes the game could well be in poor taste

    Lol it'll be a movie title, its gonna suck....if they make one that is!

      I kind of assumed that 99% of people who see the movie, are just going because it's pratically a Western Battle Royale. I don't know anybody who has read the book.

    The trilogy goes way beyond that concept of killing children which is covered in the first book. Without spoiling the other 2 stories (fantastic reading by the way) there are plenty of storylines lending themselves to shooters (assault on the Capitol for instance). It becomes more adult as you go along and there are some brilliant urban battle scenes in the 3rd.

    I wouldn't adapt the story into a game, more is make it an 24 player online multiplayer game of the hunger games competition. Have a huge map/s and have 24 characters having to fight and last one standing wins. Maybe randomize the weapons that are available and allow the level to big enough so that one can work in isolation to set up traps etc. and have the need to eat and what not. It would make a good survival online action game :)

    Battle Royale Please and not this KThxBye :D

    Isn't the whole point of the Hunger Games to comment on the violence and schadenfreude in the media and modern culture? Making a video game out of it would seem to be rather bitterly ironic.

    Hunger Games: Video Game = Infinite (Because of endless game play) deaths of children + swords + gore = R Rated = Main audience for HG is teens = Profit: None

    Make it an RPG (maybe action RPG). Give it a Final Fantasy/Dragon Quest style design (that is, no blood to speak of). Problem solved.

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