5. Metro 2033
Take a step into the post-apocalyptic world of Russia, where humanity must remain inside and underground for the course of their lives. Why? The outdoors is so caustic that you can’t breathe for more than a few moments without your trusty gas mask. But if that wasn’t trouble enough, demonic beasts roam the surface, preying on any fool dumb enough to wander outside alone. But humans aren’t always sunflowers and roses. Most of the conflict in Metro revolves around the struggles of humans against humans, and I’m sure that’s just what author Dmitri Ghlukhovsky intended. Metro 2033 is perhaps one of the most faithful adaptations on this top 10 list.
4. Assassin’s Creed
The now iconic series launched in November 2007, but its origins span much farther back. Producer Jade Raymond revealed that the plot of the first game was greatly inspired by Vladimir Bartol’s 1938 novel, Alamut.
The book takes place in an 11th-century fortress that is seized by an opposing force. A young man joins the Alamut garrison at his family’s request, where he goes through an exhaustive training process that exposes the distinct philosophy of the Alamut; they are soldiers designed to obey orders without question and sacrifice themselves without thought — they are told they will go to Heaven immediately after they die, but only if they die fighting.
War, treachery, deceit and more spin the tale that readers will undoubtedly find paralleled in Altair’s story in the series’ premiere title. Coming full circle, Assassin’s Creed became its own book series in 2009, written by Oliver Bowden and published by Penguin Books.
3. Parasite Eve
Fans of Square-Enix are sure to remember the classic PlayStation One gem Parasite Eve. Not many of them know, however, that the horror rpg was actually inspired by and meant to be a sort of sequel to the novel of the same name. In the book, author Hideaki Sena (an actual PhD student studying the science) spins the tale of a lonely doctor obsessed with saving his wife, who was killed in a car crash. Little does he know that his wife is infected by a sentient host, capable of commanding the mitochondria of all living things. What ensues is a body horror story, and Parasite Eve, the game, builds on this idea. While the story was obviously drastically different (being a sequel), the main pieces were already in place, and Eve makes a triumphant return.
While Bioshock doesn’t feature major plot points from any of Ayn Rand’s acclaimed philosophical novels, it does draws heavily from many of her ideas. Rand and some of her characters are even referenced throughout the game (particularly the first one). The original Bioshock’s main villain, Andrew Ryan, is clearly named for Rand, while Atlas from the same game is a reference to Rand’s most famous novel, Atlas Shrugged. But make no mistake: even though the Bioshock games are easily based on Rand’s works, they are not an espousal of her ideals. The fall of the underwater paradise called Rapture that Andrew Ryan attempted to create is a sharp criticism of some escapist themes found in Randian philosophy, as well as her call for rational self-interest. Bioshock seems to claim that Rapture is what a society would look like if it followed Rand’s visions for humanity. While the society’s general disarray is critical of Rand, it’s also a lot of fun to explore as a gamer.