I would read that! Part 1 – Fatal Frame

I’ve I recently reviewed two of the Digital Devil Story novels, it got me thinking about books that inspired video games. Which in turn got me thinking about video games that would make amazing novels, if only somebody would sit down and actually do the writing.

When it comes to video games, I mostly play RPGs, which means I like my games heavy on the plot and character development. As a result, I’ve played more than a few games that I think would be fantastic if turned into novels, or perhaps even a series of novels if done correctly. So I thought it might be interesting to do a few blog posts about those games! Let me know if you think any of these would be something you’d read, if you saw the synopsis on the back of a book.

Fatal Frame
Nine days have passed since Mafuyu, brother of Miku Hinasaki, had disappeared.

It all began about a month ago.

The media reported that the famous novelist Junsei Takamine disappeared while gathering research for an upcoming novel. Mafuyu, an aspiring journalist, suspected that something was wrong. Why would his mentor simply vanish into thin air? Mafuyu decided to conduct a private search for his friend, with the investigation eventually leading to the grounds of a secluded mansion. The Himuro Mansion stands silent and imposing deep within the forest. It’s said that years ago the mansion belonged to a powerful landowner who had absolute control over the area. But now it’s a shadow of its former self, dilapidated and desolate…

As Mafuyu searched the mansion, he found scraps of paper left by Junsei and his staff throughout the mansion. The writings recounted a number of ominous events that happened in the mansion’s dark past. Eager to find additional clues within the mansion, Mafuyu rushed in and suddenly realized that he wasn’t alone…

Miku came to the Himuro mansion in search of her missing brother. But she had no idea what she was getting into… (Opening description from the game manual.)

While this one isn’t the most deep plot you’ll find in the Fatal Frame series, it starts the whole tale off with a bang. In addition to feeling sympathy for just about every single one of the ghosts that are trying to kill Miku, the reason for the mansion being filled with ghosts is more disturbing than just a simple, “We’re dead and we’re pissed off about it.” Years ago, Kirie was chosen to be the Rope Shrine Maiden, which essentially meant that she was chosen to be strangled and dismembered with blessed ropes, ropes which would later be used to seal off the Hell Gate located beneath the mansion. But her guilt and love for a man caused her to be divided in a less literal sense, and the ritual failed, causing Malice to pour forth from the Hell Gate, spreading through the mansion and infecting and killing all that it touched.

Yeah, this is one of the few games in which I actually feel pity for the game’s ultimate boss! Not many games can boast getting you so wrapped up in your enemies and their backstory that you actually sometimes feel bad about killing them.

Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly
Mio and Mayu, twin sisters, are visiting their childhood home. This spot, a secret hideaway for the pair, is due to be swallowed up by a lake come the end of the summer.

Lost in her memories, Mio finally raises her head to find that Mayu has vanished. Looking around, Mio spots her sister following a crimson butterfly deep into the forest.

Mayu flees through the forest as if being led on by the fluttering insect. As she runs, her fleeting form begins to be overlaid with that of a woman dressed in white.

Chasing after her sister, Mio suddenly finds herself alone on a foggy mountain road.

Carried on by the wind, a sad song floats towards her ears. Then, she starts to see lights through the gaps in the trees.

As though accepting their unspoken invitation, Mio follows the road of festival lights.

However, when the dense forest opens into a clearing, it is Mayu who is standing there, alone, surrounded by countless crimson butterflies,

“…Mayu?”

Responding to Mio’s call, Mayu slowly turns around. The crimson butterflies dance away as one,

“The Lost…Village…”

Spreading there before the twins, crouching in fog and darkness lies a mysterious village…

The vanished village, “All God’s Village.”

The village is said to have once stood in the forest, deep in the mountains. This forest is soon to be lost due to the creation of a new dam.

The story goes, that on the eve of a special festival, the village suddenly vanished, leaving the forest wreathed in thick fog.

Many also say that should you happen to get lost in this forest, you will be spirited away to the lost village.

The village where the crimson butterflies dance. The village held forever in the grip of a never-ending night. (Opening description from the game manual.)

The twist in this one? The village is the location of a ritual known as the Crimson Sacrifice, in which one twin would strangle the other, causing the strangled to become a crimson butterfly that sent its energy to protecting the village from the malevolent energies in the Hellish Abyss. In the past, one twin ran away just before the ritual, and the remaining twin tried to complete it herself and failed, unleashing the Hellish Abyss on the village and turning her spirit into an insane killer.

The real heartbreaker? The default ending for this game involves you and your twin sister being possessed and completing the ritual. Yes, you kill your sister with your bare hands, and her spirit seals off the Abyss and ends the eternal night shrouding All Gods Village. Play that and tell me you don’t feel just a little uncomfortable at the end of it all.

This is, I might add, my favourite game of the series, and one that really tugs on my heartstrings. If any of the games was to be made into a novel, I would be anxiously awaiting this one.

Fatal Frame 3: The Tormented
“Why did I survive?”
This thought has haunted Rei ever since that day… The day she lost her fiancé in a car accident – while she was at the wheel.

One day, freelance photographer Rei Kurosawa receives an assignment to shoot pictures at an old Japanese manor. Rumor has it that the manor, situated deep in the mountains and miles from anywhere, is haunted.

During her work that day, Rei sees something inexplicable: her fiancé. Yuu Asou. As far as she knows, he is dead. Setting off in pursuit of her dead lover, Rei finds herself wandering deeper and deeper into the ruins of the abandoned mansion.

At the end of a crumbling passageway she turns a corner, and suddenly the scene around her changes. Snow is falling heavily, and reaching out ahead of her are rows and rows of countless gravestones. The scene bears no resemblance to the abandoned house where she has been taking pictures.

“Where am I? What is this place…?”
Afraid and confused, Rei begins her search for Yuu…
(Opening description from the game manual.)

Survivor’s guilt on its own is bad enough. But when you realize that there are a lot of people suffering survivor’s guilt who suddenly start complaining about going to the same mansion in their dreams, seeing invisible tattoos on their bodies, and then suddenly disappearing and leaving nothing but a black silhouette behind, you know there’s something just a little bit freaky about the whole situation. Underlying it all is the legend of a priestess who would take pain and suffering from people by tattooing their negative emotions into her skin. When she was covered with tattoos and had denounced all her earthly connections, she was impaled and sent to an eternal sleep. But she still felt love for a man and couldn’t sleep peacefully, and so she awoke and started to wander, taking with her the pain of the tattoo and the Rift, which spilled over into the dreams of people who had lost loved ones, drawing them into the Manor of Sleep and eventually consuming them.

You get to see a lot of fascinating connections to the previous two Fatal Frame games within this game, and it’s amazing to see how the story connects so well, drawing people together and subjecting them to mind-numbing terror, that all started with the development of that camera that can hurt ghosts. The camera part may sound a little cheesy, but the game developers created such a good and logical reason for it all that it really works!

If I ever saw novelizations of these games on the shelves at a bookstore, I would buy them. In a heartbeat. The stories are so rich and detailed, and I think they’d make fantastic novels if done right. It wouldn’t take much to work an adaptation, either, since there’s so much information and backstory and theories within the games themselves that there isn’t much room for speculation or doubt as to what the truth behind each situation is. They’re the kind of games that would make amazing novels!

So, what do you think? If you saw books with those descriptions, do you think they’d interest you? Or would you pass them by?

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