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from one hell to another

January 29, 2010
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[NYTimes] There’s a new edition of Dante’s “Inferno” that’s recently begun appearing in bookstores. Same words. Different cover. It’s got a big picture of a muscular fellow in a spiky crown and an overline that says, “The literary classic that inspired the epic video game.”

Dante as action hero

It’s true. “Inferno” is now a video game, with a brawny, armor-clad Dante as its protagonist. Like a fallen soul, it is facing some stern judgments, both from prospective players and Dante scholars who wonder why a classic work of Western literature needed updating at all.

But the game’s creators say there’s an audience for it. Their research showed that most people had heard of “Inferno” but few knew what it was about. This, they say, gave them license to make a few improvements.  “If you’re trying to make an action game, it’s thin,” Jonathan Knight, the game’s executive producer, said of the original text. “It’s Dante, who’s kind of passive, and he’s a poet and he’s philosophical. We had to take the bold step of saying, ‘How do we make this guy an action hero?’ ” (read)

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