The Game of Game of Thrones George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and Its Video Game Adaptations

By Felix Schröter

Video games have not only become an integral part of most transmedial entertainment franchises but also influenced the narrative and aesthetic conventions of other media, especially film. One consequence of this is the growing prominence of ›game-like‹ narratives (and storyworlds) that subordinate characters and storytelling to more abstract principles of narrative organization. In this article, it is argued that this ›game logic‹ leads to some transmedial storyworlds being especially well-suited for an adaptation as a video game, and that the novel-based transmedial world of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire is such a world. Drawing on transmedial narratology, film studies, and game studies, the relationship between transmedial worlds and games will be discussed with reference to three different Game of Thrones video games: the action role-playing game Game of Thrones (2012), the browser game Game of Thrones Ascent (2013), and the real-time strategy game A Game of Thrones. Genesis (2011). As will be shown, all three games follow very different strategies in identifying and implementing the core elements of the respective storyworld, mainly informed by generic conventions and (assumed) player preferences. Thus, the comparison also casts a light on medium-specific strengths and weaknesses regarding video games’ contribution to a broader transmedia storytelling context.