CLASSIC NOVEL or VIDEO GAME, THAT IS THE QUESTION

So, you think you know your stuff, huh? Think you can tell your Sonics from your Scrooges? Your Mario Brothers from your Brothers Karamazov? Then we’ve got just the quiz for you.

Below are ten excerpts. They’re taken from either contemporary reviews of classic literature of the 1800s, or from reviews of video games. It’s your job to tell which is which. Sound easy? Well, not so fast Johnny Mastermind. We’re one step ahead of you.

In some situations where the reviews might have given the game away we’ve inserted an alternative word to increase the challenge. Say, for example, a reviewer refers to “the novel” — eagle-eyed quizsters might notice that this indicates that it’s talking about a novel, so I have changed it to “the [NOVEL/VIDEO GAME]”.

Answers to all ten excerpts are at the bottom of the post, in case you just can’t figure them out.

#1

How a human being could have attempted such a [BOOK/VIDEO GAME] as the present without committing suicide before he had finished a dozen [CHAPTERS/LEVELS], is a mystery. It is a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors….

#2

Okay, there’s a lot of other things I’d like to say about this [BOOK/GAME], but I think you’ve probably got the basic idea by now. The one warning that I would offer up is to hard-core [ROMANCE/ACTION] fans who may be put off by the [SOCIAL CLASS/RPG] elements that make this [BOOK/GAME] what it is. In the end though, I would recommend this title for just about anyone who’s over the age of 16 (this [BOOK/GAME] is really scary) and who likes deep rich play adventures.

#3

The [SHERLOCK HOLMES/TONY HAWK] series has always had style. The first [BOOK/GAME] reinvented a genre and set off a series of clones and pretenders that still flood the market today. The second game refined the formula, but its higher level of difficulty and steeper learning curve turned off casual [READERS/PLAYERS]. [THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES/TONY HAWKS PRO SKATER 3] brings it all together in one package that makes everything before it almost [UNREADABLE/UNPLAYABLE] by comparison.

#4

Upon the whole, the work impresses us with a high idea of the [AUTHOR/DEVELOPER]’s original genius and happy power of expression. We shall be delighted to hear that he has aspired to the paullo maiora; and, in the meantime, congratulate our [READERS/PLAYERS] upon a [NOVEL/VIDEO GAME] which excites new reflections and untried sources of [EMOTION/GUNS].

#5

…little women who [READ/PLAY] the [BOOK/GAME] are somewhat disappointed, at first, that [JO/MARIO] and [LAURIE/LUIGI] do not marry… The volumes are good for girls, because they are free from cant and sham morality. They teach the religion of good works and teach wholesome truths.

#6

Overall, [A CHRISTMAS CAROL/FAR CRY 2] is a [BOOK/GAME] in which you can quite literally get lost for hours at a time. But that feeling of exploration is precisely what makes the [BOOK/GAME] so much fun; your creativity never feels stifled when approaching a [CHAPTER/MISSION], and the [BOOK/GAME]’s overall structure of [MISERS/SIDE TASKS], [GHOSTS/FRIENDS], [REGRET/REWARDS], and [TURKEY/UPGRADES] is a diverse ecosystem rivaling the landscape itself. No matter whether you’re a [PAPERBACK/PC] fan who’s [READ/PLAYED] through the similarly structured [BLEAK HOUSE/CRYSIS] or a [SERIALIZED FICTION READER/CONSOLE OWNER] new to the world of [NOVELS/OPEN-ENDED FIRST-PERSON SHOOTERS], you won’t be disappointed by [A CHRISTMAS CAROL/FAR CRY 2].

#7

…there was no story in it, except that miss [EMMA/MASTER CHIEF] found that the man whom she designed for [HARRIET/SGT. JOHNSON]’s lover was an admirer of her own — & he was affronted at being refused by [EMMA/MASTER CHIEF] & [HARRIET/SGT. JOHNSON] wore the willow — and smooth, thin water-gruel is according to [EMMA’S FATHER/CORTANA]’s opinion a very good thing & it is very difficult to make a cook understand what you mean by smooth, thin water-gruel!

#8

Overall [MOBY DICK/THE WIND WAKER] is a huge achievement in every way, a must have title for your [GAMECUBE/NORMAL] library. It provides a decent storyline, complemented by stunning [VISUALS/DESCRIPTIONS OF VISUALS], beautiful [MELODIES/DESCRIPTIONS OF MELODIES] and a fantastic battle [SYSTEM/SCENE]. Despite this… [READING/FIGHTING] offers no real challenge at all, even the [WHALE ENCOUNTERS/BOSS BATTLES] are too straightforward and simple. The large chunks of the [BOOK/GAME] dedicated to collecting various [ITEMS/WHALES] may also frustrate for the more impatient [READER/GAMER]. However, these flaws pale in comparison to the breathtakingly refreshing appeal the [VISUALS/DESCRIPTIONS] have created.

#9

There’s no point having a sprawling landscape if you can’t fill it with tons of shit to [READ ABOUT/DO] in between the [REGULAR MISSIONS/MAIN PLOT]. [GREAT EXPECTATIONS/GTA IV] has the occasional stranger to help out in [LONDON/LIBERTY CITY]. [LES MISÉRABLES/JUST CAUSE 2] has a stack of things to blow up around [PARIS/PANAU]. And [A CHRISTMAS CAROL/FAR CRY 2] has, erm? <cough>. Anyway, [THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN/RED DEAD REDEMPTION] and its miles of dusty land between different towns and villages could’ve wound up a joyless trek to wander across. But, holy crap, there’s so much stuff to [DO/READ ABOUT] here that you need never be bored.

#10

The Transylvanian site of [CASTLE DRACULA/BLACK MESA] is skilfully chosen, and the picturesque region is well [DESCRIBED/RENDERED]. [COUNT DRACULA/GORDON FREEMAN] himself has been in his day a [MEDIEVAL NOBLE/SCIENTIST], who, by reason of his “vampire” qualities, is unable to die properly… It is, however, an artistic mistake to fill a whole volume with horrors. A touch of the mysterious, the terrible or the supernatural is infinitely more effective and credible.

Answers

#1 — Graham’s Lady’s Magazine, 1848, on Wuthering Heights (A BOOK)

#2 — IGN, 1999, on System Shock 2 (A GAME)

#3 — GameSpot, 2001, on Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3 (A GAME)

#4 — Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, 1818, on Frankenstein (A BOOK)

#5 — Boston Daily Evening Transcript, 1869, on Little Women (A BOOK)

#6 — GameSpot, 2008, on Far Cry 2 (A GAME)

#7 — Maria Edgeworth, 1816, on Emma (A BOOK)

#8 — Nintendo Life, 2007, on The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (A GAME)

#9 — GamesRadar, 2012, on Red Dead Redemption (A GAME)

#10 — The Manchester Guardian, 1897, on Dracula (A BOOK)

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