You certainly know 2001: A Space Odyssey and Rendezvous with Rama (Arthur C. Clarke Collection: Rama). Both are two grand classics. The first is a movie by Kubrick but both are more important books by the award-winning author Arthur C. Clarke. Perhaps what you don’t know is how such masterpieces spread their influences on video games like tentacles… if you try to cut one, ten will grow again.
There was a series of « Rama » books, the first being the most famous and the only one I’ve read. There was even a video game that is a direct breed of the Rama universe whose name is « Rama » -how original! It’s a “Myst” copycat, a point and click that takes place in the universe of Rama I and Rama II. The graphics are a bit outdated- it came out in 1996 on PC and Playstation- and the game is punctuated with captivating video interventions by Arthur C.Clarke. Take a glimpse on the video right below:
Rama is in fact (watch out a sparkle of spoil there) a celestial, spacy and artificial object that we can find in a « close call reproduction » in Mass Effect’s universe. The famous citadel, the center of the galactic life of all species, when it’s closed in its defensive configuration, takes the Rama shape. Even the Presidium, the head of the galactic government, gets a few architectural inspirations from Rama. Clarke’s universe has that particularity of showing humans facing things that are beyond all their hopes. Clarke’s heroes are not only modest and humble, but they are also voiceless and have lost a parcel of the feelings they believed they gained in the so-called normal world.
Descriptions can be too long… even off-putting. Why? Because the heroes meet alien, gigantic, cold and enigmatic artifacts that weaken their determination and will. Inner metamorphosis is one important common point found in most of Clarke’s novels. I read one day that specific architectures can trigger specific thoughts and feelings. Well, that’s quite obvious, but as a gamer, while looking at the big old ring of Halo, or at some magnificent structures of Mass effect, or at an cold and empty spaceship wreck of “Dead Space”, you can be in a more “abstract state of mind“ than when you are looking at a car or a house for example. Scott’s movie, “Prometheus” is essentially about that. Clarke’s novels are about a new way of seeing the universe and discovering ourselves. Homo stellaris.
There wasn’t (and sadly, there will perhaps never be), a game based on “2001, A Space Odyssey” and its written sequels (2010-turned out to go as a movie also-, 2061 and 3001). However, there are a few clues which show that “2001“ modeled the imagination or views of the modern video game builders. Monoliths! You can find them in Stonehenge, but also in “Sims: Earth” and “Spore”. As a history artifact, they are presented as an ancestral awareness of our position in the universe. Today speaking of such things are pointless, because you know star lights are being drowned into city lights. Monoliths are presented as a shortcut for your species evolution. In “Eve: Online”, you can also find a few of these vertical rocks, but they are just standing there as a kind of homage. Now the shape of the monolith is for sure part of the science-fiction mythology.
All the legendary work (or most of it) of Clarke is now available online in e-book format on Amazon, Rosetta books, the Nook Store or Kobo. You can find the classics and also books in more traditional settings like “Dolphin Island”. Clarke was a big fan (he died in the late 2000’s) of diving, unexplored areas like space or oceans. That book is about an aquatic zoo and was adapted in a dull DS video game which I shouldn’t have mentioned because it’s not worth being mentioned at all in a video game blog! About “Spore : A space odyssey” :