3 Stephen King Short Stories That Should Be Indie Horror Games

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Many of Stephen King's books have found success, critical acclaim or at the very least cult status on both the big and the small screen when they were adapted from his books.

As I sifted through some of his short stories, I wondered how well King's stories could within a videogame adaptation too. With modern advancements in technology available to indie developers, as well as the ability to tell a creative story -- without trying to appease investors as with big budget games -- the possibilities are endless.

Indie developers have more flexibility when it comes to being creative with their games, and as with Stephen King's stories the games could take any creative twist and turn. Here I look at 3 of King's short stories that I think could work as videogame.

The Night Flier

The Night Flier is a story that is centralized around a jaded reporter and photographer named Richard Dees who is investigating stories of a serial killer. Richard follows the killer known as The Night Flier, while he travels and commits gruesome murders in various airports travelling in a Cessna Skymaster aeroplane.

Richard thinks The Night Flier is a lunatic who believes he's vampire, and sets out on a mission to find out more about the killer, interviewing witnesses and discovering more clues along the way.

As a result of a violent thunderstorm, Richard, eventually will find himself landing ahead of the killer at one of the airports -- where things take a terrible turn for the worst.

I see a videogame adaptation of this story working in a similar way to Life Is Strange, only swapping the time travelling aspects and replacing this with travelling between airports. The game could also use the character interactions seen in Life Is Strange to interview witnesses as well as the photography mechanics to capture horrors and atrocities of The Night Flier.

Umney's Last Case 

Umney's Last Case is a short story by Stephen King that focuses on a private detective called Clyde Umney in 1930's Los Angeles. What starts out for the detective as a seemingly normal day at the office, suddenly takes a turn for the worst, as his life quickly begins to fall apart around him,as his friends and colleagues all abruptly leave his life for various and seemingly random reasons.

His day takes an even stranger turn, when he meets a character called Landry, who looks just like him. It turns out that Landry is an author and Umney is just a fictional character in one of Landry's detective books.

The author Landry is intending to switch places with the detective to live a life of adventure -- thereby casting Umney's mind into an oblivion. Instead, the detective Umney awakes occupying Landry's body in 1994.

Unhappy with the real world and hell bent on revenge, Umney learns to write with the intention of ending Landry's life within the book.

How this would work in a videogame could be a difficult task, but I see the player taking on the role of the cowardly author Landry, instead of the proposed hero.

I think the randomized, procedurally generated mechanics of a game like Layers Of Fear could work well with the world being manipulated by an author instead of an artist as seen in Layers.  

The world that Landry occupies is changing and working against him as the author tries to find various ways to kill the player, this could be an interesting premise on both the horror genre and a 1930's style Noir detective game.

The Gunslinger

This could be considered cheating a bit as The Gunslinger is a short story that became a volume and a bigger part of the Dark Tower novel, but as Stephen King considers these stories as his magnum opus, and as such is the perfect setting for a video game series I'm going to include it anyway.

The Gunslinger has an alternative world setting that mixes a futuristic, alternative earth-gothic horror fantasy. Where you will encounter demons, Succubus and other creatures with the Old West stylings of a Spaghetti Western.

The story will see the lead character Roland Deschain pursuing the mysterious 'Man In Black', as he edges closer to the Dark Tower.

I imagine the gameplay and world to be similar to that of a Dark Souls or Bloodborne style game with some Red Dead Redemption thrown in. While this may seem like an ambitious project for an indie developer to take on, you may want to consider the huge game that is coming called Kingdom Come: Deliverance from indie developers Warhorse studios - indie doesn't have mean low budget.

The Dark Tower series is being adapted this year in film, it is starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey and will act as a sequel to the books by Stephen King.

Are there any Stephen King short stories that you would like to see adapted to a videogame? Answer in the comments below!

Published Mar. 8th 2017

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I got my start at Gameskinny now I run my own website https://games2entertainment.com

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