Anna Arco's Diary

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Abandon hope all ye who enter here…

dantes-inferno-1It has captured the imagination of poets like TS Eliot, painter-poets like William Blake and in recent years it has been turned into a musical, but in its newest incarnation, the Divine Comedy (or rather part of it) has inspired a video game.

The Independent carried the story about Dante’s Inferno TM, a video game which serves as a bit of an electronic Virgil leading a virtual Dante–played by YOU–through the nine circles of Hell, over the weekend. The game has been “crafted” by Hollywood script writer, Will Rokos, who wrote the script for the 2001 film, Monsters Ball.

He said: “I really got into re-imagining Dante as a flawed hero with a dark past, and his determination to save the love of his life from a terrible fate. It was a truly unique experience to re-create one man’s hell, one circle at a time.”

The promo video for the game looks extremely violent and you need to click a button to say that you are 18 or over. The player must fight his way through the different levels of Hell which Dante described so carefully in in his 14th Century poem, but as re-imagined by Rokos.

The game’s slogan: “An abducted soul, a lifetime of sins, a journey to the depths of despair. Dante’s Inferno™ is a third-person action adventure adaptation of the medieval epic poem The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.”

Armed with a “death scythe” which is “your main nailing weapon” and the “Holy Cross” which “shoots holy magic” at your enemies, you will be able to travel through the different levels of Hell on the “side of the righteous” come February next year.

As far as I remember, most video games are set in mystical or mythical worlds–I remember one from the early days–which was set in a New Age sort of universe. Given that Dante’s epic poem is considered to encapsulate–in a literary form at least–the Christian Medieval mindset, I’m not sure whether one ought to be worried about the fact that this Hell has been reduced to a strange, Lord-of-the-Ring-esque (the movie version) orc-infested darklands myth. Granted, the first part of Dante’s poem is a predominantly allegorical vision of sin and sinfulness. The circles of Hell in the game are limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, fraud and treachery, a simplification of Dante’s circles of Hell. Regardless, it does seem like a pretty hopeless place, but not all that allegorical. I imagine one hopes for respite from the game quite quickly…

It’s probably silly to object to it too much, but somehow the idea of this virtual reality Hell (as envisaged by Dante, Rokos and the designers at EA) makes me a bit uncomfortable.

Written by annaarco

October 12, 2009 at 11:35 am

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