Now here's a story to warm the cold, analytical hearts of all of us excited by the progression of games as an intellectual medium. Booker Prize winning British-Indian novelist Salman Rushdie (he of previousdeath threatinfamy) has come out and admitted that the structure of video games has shaped the narrative of his upcoming children's novel, Luka and the Fire of Life.
Are we looking at a dense dissection of east-west cultural relations by way of circle-strafes and double-jumping? Doubtful, but it's good news all round, regardless.
Rushdie, speaking to Associated Press, stated that "Video games are often based on a classical quest format. That fits well with a fable. The book is about the value of life, and in video games you can have a thousand lives. So I contrasted those two things"
Sounds rather promising. Games - particularly JRPGs - are one of the strongest ongoing proponents ofVladimir Propp's narratemes (the tiny narrative elements which act as the generic building blocks for pretty much every story ever told), so it's good to see a major author acknowledge their ties with humanity's grand old literary traditions.
It's also good to see Rushdie being a bit more openly complimentary about games, following his 2008 discussion with Stephen Colbert. When discussing the power of media to create shared cultural experiences, he stated:
"I think video games, YouTube, you know, these are the things that will change the world. Because when people see what garbage everybody else is consuming, they want it too"
A bit back-handed, but still, Salman is a wry old goose, and given that he plays games with his son (although he admits to being rubbish at them), I'll happily take his dig with a pinch of salt.