Community Collab: Video Game Literary Classics 101


The Prompt

Students all over the world have to read certain classic literature in school such as: Hamlet, Lord of the Flies, The Great Gatsby, Homer’s Odyssey, etc. With that in mind…

Imagine it’s 2050 and you’re helping design a course for high school students called Video Game Literary Classics. You have been asked to suggest a culturally significant video game (or several) for students to academically analyze and discuss, as they would with classic literature. Which video game title(s) would you choose for literary study and why?

The General Idea

We are focusing on video games that, with any combination of their design elements, say something significant about humanity. For instance, the one(s) you choose might portray interesting philosophies, ethics, or social commentary worth in depth, academic discussion. How does the narrative of a certain title make it a timeless classic? How did a specific game accurately reflect the cultural zeitgeist of the era? And so on.


1. You can write about one video game or several, just please included supporting details for your choice(s). If you choose a title from a long series (ex: Final Fantasy), please specify a single installment.

2. Link back to this post in your response so I can easily keep track of entries.

3. Please post your response by the end of your timezone’s day on June 23rd. Edit: Extending the due date to a month!

4. I will choose one submission from each participating blogger to include in a community collaboration post, linking to each bloggers original post.
Note: I may paraphrase for brevity depending on how long the collaboration becomes.

5. I will post the final version of Video Game Literary Classics 101, arranged in an order that makes sense for teaching, on the following weekend, or as sooner if I’m able to.

To get you started with some ideas, I posed this question to the /r/truegaming subreddit and took note of some of the most popular suggestions in the comments. Feel free to pick one or choose something else.

Papers, Please
Return of the Obra Dinn
Dark Souls
Grand Theft Auto
Nier Automata
The Stanly Parable
Chrono Trigger
Final Fantasy

Night in the Woods
Dues Ex
God of War
Red Dead Redemption
That Dragon Cancer
The Last of Us
Mass Effect
Beginner’s Guide
Half Life

Depending on the amount of participants, this might end up being enough entries for a unit, a single semester course, or a year long class. If there are enough, I might even posting the results in two separate “courses” of 101 and 201.

I’m going to ping a few bloggers here I think or know would be interested, but anyone is welcome to participate!

Kim — Later Levels
Hannie — The Hannie Corner
Hannah — A Cat’s Library
Charles — Around the Bonfire
Duane — Bar Harukiya
Chris — OverThinker Y
Emily — Monster Lady’s Diary
Michelle — A Geek Girl’s Guide
Matthew — Normal Happenings
Ms. Dragon — The Dragon’s Teaparty

Happy writing!

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65 comments on “Community Collab: Video Game Literary Classics 101”

      1. Relax. I can’t make any promises at this moment. It’s under consideration right now because I have a few large articles in the queue right now so it may not be right away.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. This sounds really interesting! Out of curiosity, if we were to contribute, would we be writing for an audience assuming they are knowledgeable about the game we choose, or will we have to provide background/context?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would say it’s not necessary to provide a detailed summary of the whole game or anything. Relevant context for your reasons is probably enough, but you are welcome to write to your heart’s content. After all, we aren’t given full plot summaries of plots of classic novels before reading them in school.


      1. Thanks! I know when I was writing in Uni (I studied English) we were told to write with the expectation that the audience knew the book in question (to avoid wasting words summarizing the entire plot). Just wanted to confirm that was the case here, thank you for the quick reply 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a fantastic idea! Count me in as soon as I can think of how to best compile it. I’ve been toying around with discussing what I believe to be the most influential games historically based upon what I like to play, so I might be able to do something along those lines for this.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s probably not going to happen, sorry! I’ve been super busy with my real life and haven’t gotten a ton of time to write! I hope the lit collar goes well, though!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re more than welcome to join in still! A lot of bloggers were interested but so far only one has posted theirs. Adrian did Life is Strange with a side of Night in the Woods and Hellblade for mental health month. And then I did BioShock. I didn’t organize a system to stop duplicates because I’m dumb and this is the first time I’ve done something like this. Hahah

      Just go with your gut and I’ll be sure to reference contributors equally if there is any overlap. Also, you’re welcome to choose something not on the list. Those were just examples to give folks some ideas. 🙂


      1. That’s a great choice! Big mood for sure. Never played them personally because I’m not enough of a masochist but I’ve watched many many hours of Let’s Plays and lore videos. It’s a fascinating world!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. OH is there still time to join in on this. I’ve been running through games to try to make an argument to include in my school syllabus anyway (since we already do a film study once a year). My current pick is Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! “Due date” is the 23rd but I’ll be working on putting all the submissions together for a week or two so it’s fine if it’s a little late.


      1. Its no problem I’ll try get up at least Brothers or Orwell since I had those earmarked for making a case to include in the syllabus. They’re not classics, but I’ll explain why I chose them in the post!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. With the due date for this approaching I wanted to say I’ve enjoyed reading the posts that were made in response to this prompt and look forward to the remaining posts that have yet to be posted.

    This is…very much outside of my scene as far as writing goes. Despite that I’ve still found it very interesting to read the thoughts others had to share on the subject.

    Liked by 1 person

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