Monday, November 14, 2011

The Great Gatsby

Doth your eyes deceive you? Is this post, in fact, about a piece of classic literature? Yes, yes it is.


Somebody made a side-scrolling browser game out of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This person, or persons, is clearly awesome - and not just because they turned a book that has no business being a video game, INTO a video game. Whether you've read Mr. Fitzgerald's work or not, this little game shines.


The Great Gatsby is... the story of... a rich guy. He, um... some bad stuff happens, and...

Okay, I'll admit. I OWN The Great Gatsby, but I've never read it - which is especially sad since I'm an English graduate and it's a really short book. I don't know the plot, and the game, though vaguely expressive of the story, doesn't go too far in telling the player what's going on. Generally speaking, if you're playing this game and expecting a story, you should have read the book.

That said, the story of The Great Gatsby is told rather well, considering this is an NES-era recreation. There are cut scenes between the levels, and the occasional influx of text from characters during the action, and in the cut scenes, serves well enough to give you a rough idea of the plot's direction. (Very rough.)


The Great Gatsby is a side-scroller, and in that it excels. The programming is nice and tight: getting around enemies is never a problem, thanks to great jumping and a handy hat that acts as a projectile, and cheap deaths are almost non-existent. One might argue that it's a little TOO smooth to be an NES game.


The Great Gatsby is actually called 'The Great Gatsby For NES', which sounds a little too clunky as a post heading. Nevertheless, that title is entirely accurate: this game is made to look just like an NES game. And, hey, it succeeds. Just look at the screencaps and you can tell it succeeds.

Granted, I doubt this Nick Carraway fellow actually crawled around on top of a train during the book, but NES games were never known for their strict adherence to their source material. Either way, its resemblance to an actual NES title is uncanny.


Not a ton to say here - The Great Gatsby's soundtrack is appropriately MIDI in quality, but also reminiscent of the time in which the book is set. Think old Broadway shows and you'll get the idea. Well done overall, if basic.

Challenge Rating

The only disappointing aspect of The Great Gatsby lies in its challenge, as it's not really challenging at all. It only sports a handful of levels that can be completed in about 20 minutes, if that long, and easily without losing a life. And while there are bosses, such as this clearly canonical pair of floating glasses,

they're easily dispatched. That said, I imagine The Great Gatsby was designed as more a novelty game than one meant to be testing, so that's okay.


The Great Gatsby For NES is a silly, two-thumbs-up project. It's exactly the kind of nonsense you'd expect of the Internet these days, and a grand way to lighten up your day - though, uh, you may want to read the book first. I'm sure it's appreciably more amusing that way. Where is my copy, speaking of which...


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