Theme Park World – Halloween World

“Abandon hope all ye who enter here.”

Theme Park World, Bullfrog Productions’ 1999 construction and management simulation game. Upon selecting Halloween World, the Adviser references the inscription upon the gates of hell.

Learn more from Theme Park World’s Wikipedia page here.

Denton Designs’ Dante’s Inferno (1986)

“With only one life, this is quite an unforgiving game. Nevertheless, it’s overall pretty nice to play, albeit short. The best feature is the creepy atmosphere, which captures fairly well the one of the book, of a place actually more desolate and sorrowful than plain scary.”    — User Demon, Lemon64, June 1, 2015

Denton Designs’ 1986 video game, Dante’s Inferno, for the Commodore 64.

Watch Retro Arcade Classics complete the game here.

Anarchy Online – Pandemonium

pandemonium-anarchy-online

Pandemonium is the highest-level zone in Shadowlands, Funcom’s 2003 expansion for its 2001 MMORPG Anarchy Online.

 

Its four parts are named after the four parts of the Ninth Circle of Hell: Caïna, Antenora, Ptolomaea, Judecca.

 

Learn more about Anarchy Online here.

Day of the Tentacle (1993)

day-of-the-tentacle

A reference in LucasArts’ 1993 graphic adventure video game Day of the Tentacle: when playing as Bernard, the dialogue with the cigar salesman cycles through mentions of a few famous figures, including the poet.

Visions of Hell: Dark Souls cultural heritage

“It’s hard to place a finger on the most recognizable reference to Gustave Doré’s incredible illustrations in the Dark Souls series. The artist, who in a short 50 year life span produced over 100,000 pieces, and illustrated many of the great works of world literature, haunts many a crooked corner of Lordran, Drangleic, and Lothric. Flicking through his illustrations for Dante Alighieri’s great masterwork The Divine Comedy (1320), it is impossible not to be reminded of the landscapes and demons of Dark Souls. On top of a sheer rock wall we see a clutch of figures, huddled like the Deacons of the Dark. In a shallow pool lie piles of corpses, twisted into an inseparable mess, like the horrible sights that await in the drained ruins of New Londo. The great king Nimrod chained, now a giant and no longer a man, echoes the lost ruler of Drangleic. It is no surprise that it is the first book of The Divine Comedy, Inferno, depicting Dante’s journey through hell, that brings us these images. Doré’s bleak, stony, and understated depictions of Satan’s kingdom so strongly contrasted with decades of medieval hellfire that had gone before. They are powerfully mythic images, ones that have been reached for again and again by artists in search of the power of the dark.

“Though iconic now, the success of Inferno was never assured. Many of Doré’s supporters called it too ambitious and too expensive a project, and so, in 1861, driven by his passion for the source material he funded its publication himself. His risk paid off, and the volume and its subsequent sister volumes Purgatorio and Paradiso, depicting purgatory and Heaven respectively, became his most notable works. A critic at the time of its publication wrote that the illustrations were so powerful that both Dante and Doré must have been ‘communicating by occult and solemn conversations the secret of this Hell plowed by their souls, traveled, explored by them in every sense.’ This plumbing of the depths of despair in search of beauty is the true thematic link between these illustrations and Dark Souls art. Like the monsters of Kuniyoshi, in Doré we don’t just see the aesthetic roots of Dark Souls, we see its themes—the concepts of loss, despair, and the allure of the occult sketched out in chiaroscuro black-and-white.” [. . .]    –Gareth Damian Martin, Kill Screen, May 11, 2016.

Fallout 3 – The Ninth Circle

fallout3-the-ninth-circle

A bar in Bethesda‘s 2008 video game, Fallout 3. Complete with a bouncer named Charon.

You can see more about The Ninth Circle here and here.

BioWare Animator Creates Gorgeous ‘Dante’s Inferno’ Short Film

“BioWare animator Tal Peleg released a new animated (NSFW) short film based on Visceral Games’ 2010 action title ‘Dante’s Inferno’ on Sunday.

“The game was loosely based on Dante Alighieri’s long narrative poem The Divine Comedy. But, it reimagines the poet as a Templar knight who goes on a bloody journey through the nine circles of Hell to rescue Beatrice from Lucifer.

“Peleg created his first ‘Dante’s Inferno’ fan fiction short four years ago. As a lover of both fantasy/medieval art and action-RPGs, he said in a recent behind-the-scenes blog post the game couldn’t have come out at a better time.” […]    –Stefanie Fogel, Variety, November 20, 2018

 

When Seagulls Cry (2007)

Umineko no Naku Koro ni is a Japanese visual novel developed by 07th Expansion. The title translates to When Seagulls Cry in English. The series was released in Japan from 2007-2011, and globally through 2016-2017.

“The story focuses on a group of eighteen people on a secluded island for a period of two days, and the mysterious murders that befall them. Readers are challenged to discern whether the murders were committed by a human or of some other supernatural source, as well as the method and motive behind them.” [. . .]    —Umineko When They Cry, Wikipedia, 2018.

Fans of the series have pointed out several references to Dante’s work in the series, such as these found by readers on MyAnimeList:

“I’ve started reading Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy few days ago and I found several analogies with Umineko.

  1. “Names:
    Beatrice – name of deceased Dante’s love, his guide through Heaven
    Virgil – name of Dante’s guide through Hell and Purgatorio
  2. “Structure of Mt. Purgatorio is of the form 2+7+1=9+1=10, with one of the ten regions different in nature from the other nine ( last – Earthly Paradise). It may resemble 10 twilights of the Witch’s Epitaph.
  3. “Dante meets Beatrice at 10th floor, Battler meets Beato at 10th twilight
  4. “Seven Stakes resemble floors 3rd- 9th of Mt. Purgatorio (each floor represents 1 of 7 deadly sins.)
  5. “Magic circles in Umineko have a same names as the Spheres of Heaven:
    First Sphere of the Moon –> First Circle of the Moon” [. . .]    —Azakus, MyAnimeList, October 11, 2009.

To see more of the Dante references fans of When Seagulls Cry have found, check out the full forum discussion on MyAnimeList.

You can buy When Seagulls Cry and check out other games in the series on Steam.

Contributed by Philip Smith (University of the Bahamas)

The Binding of Isaac, Rebirth (2014)

“Within the video game The Binding of Isaac, Satan is located in the 9th level of the game; Hell is described as ‘cold’ if the player dies on this level (both mirroring Inferno).”    –Anonymous Contributor

The Binding of Isaac, Rebirth is a 2014 video game published by Nicalis, an American publisher based out of Santa Ana, California.

You can check out more from Nicalis on their website, and you can buy The Binding of Isaac on Steam and on Humble.

Agony Interview: The Evolution of Inferno

 

Divine Comedy was the first book that impressed me so much by describing very deep and complex world. When I read this book, I was hoping that someday I will have a chance to create similar world, full of evil beings and surreal environment. That vision grows in me for years. But creating a game place in hell requires lots of preparation.

“Every person who plays our game has a different imagination of hell. People are well aware of the classic image of hell full of horned demons, lake of fire and tears of thousands of suffering people.” []   –Tomasz Dutkiewicz on the survival horror game Agony in an interview with Ravi Sinha, Gamingbolt, January 11, 2013.

Read the full interview at Gamingbolt.