Profs. Guy Raffa and Arielle Saiber on EA’s “Dante’s Inferno” Video Game


Jon Gordon interviews Arielle Saiber on Future Tense (now Marketplace Tech) February 17, 2010.
Read more about the interview on the Bowdoin website.


Benjamin Popper interviews Guy Raffa and Arielle Saiber for his article “Dante Alighieri: Epic Poet, Ass Kicker”
The Atlantic, February 2010.

Electronic Arts Re-Releasing Longfellow’s Translation

dantes-inferno-longfellow-edition“There’s a new edition of Dante’s ‘Inferno’ that’s recently begun appearing in bookstores. Same words. Different cover. It’s got a big picture of a muscular fellow in a spiky crown and an overline that says, ‘The literary classic that inspired the epic video game.'” [. . .]    –Dave Itzkoff, The New York Times, January 29, 2010

“Dante’s Inferno” EA Video Game


“EA introduces an all new original property from the studio behind the hit horror game, Dead Space. The game is based on part one of the medieval epic poem, The Divine Comedy, commonly referred to as Dante’s Inferno, by Dante Alighieri. The dark fiction gave birth to the Tuscan Italian dialect and is widely considered the work that has defined the western world’s contemporary conception of hell and purgatory. The poem tells the tale of Dante who journeys through the twisted, menacing nine circles of hell in pursuit of his beloved Beatrice. Written in the 14th Century, The Divine Comedy, unlike the bible, was published and read aloud in the language of the Italian people, thereby making the poem accessible to the mass public. The poem delivers a striking and allegorical vision of the Christian afterlife and the punishments of hell. In part one, known as Dante’s Inferno, Dante traverses all nine circles of hell; limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, fraud and treachery.”    —EA Games

See Also:

Video Interviews and Previews at EA Games
Contributed by Chelsea Mikulencak (UTexas-Austin, ’10)

“EA Sends Players to Hell in Epic Action Game Dante’s Inferno” by El Mundo Tech, December 15, 2008
Contributed by J. Patrick Brown (Bowdoin, ’08)

“Video Game Draws Interest in Hollywood” by David Itzkoff, The New York Times, November 3, 2008

“Endpaper — Fiction Reaches a New Level” by Tim Martin, The Telegraph, May 7, 2009
Contributed by Aisha Woodward (Bowdoin, ’08)

“Fighting Desire in Dante’s Inferno. Try not to succumb to your lustful urges in Hell.” by Jeff Haynes,, September 21, 2009
Contributed by Charlie Russell-Schlesinger (Bowdoin, ’08)

“Dante’s Inferno Story Trailer” by Euro Gamer, November 17, 2009
Contributed by Luke Welch (Bowdoin, ’08)

“You Read It in Class; Now You Can Play It on your Console” by Seth Schiesel, The New York Times, February 8, 2010

“Charting Dante’s Descent Through 9 Circles of Hell” by Mark Oppenheimer, The New York Times, March 26, 2010

“Abandon All Poetry, but Enter Hell With an Attitude” by David Itzkoff, The New York Times, January 29, 2010

“Profs Guy Raffa and Arielle Saiber on EA’s ‘Dante’s Inferno’ Videogame” in The Atlantic, February 26, 2010 and “Prof. Arielle Saiber on the Game” in Future Tense, February 17, 2010

“Prof. Teodolinda Barolini on EA’s ‘Dante’s Inferno’ Videogame” in Entertainment Weekly

“The Literary Sources of Dungeons and Dragons” (Video Game)

dungeons-and-dragons“Planes: Nine Hells: Caina
The name used for the first part of the ninth circle of Hell in Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, Canto XXXII. Dante describes it as a completely frozen lake formed by the river Cocytus.
Planes: Nine Hells: Dis
In Greek mythology, a synonym for Hades–both the place and, in Virgil’s Aeneid (VI, 358 & 524), the god Hades/Pluto. In Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, Cantos VIII-IX, Dis a large, walled city in Hell with a well-guarded gate, which is the origin of the D&D plane’s description. In Canto XXXIV, Dis is another name for Lucifer.
Planes: Nine Hells: Malbolge
The name is derived from Malebolge, the term used for the Eighth Circle of Hell in Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, Cantos XVIII-XXX, and means ‘evil pouches.’ . . .
Planes: Pandemonium: Cocytus
The name for one of the major rivers in Hell in Dante Alighieri’s Inferno. Dante’s description of the river bears no similarity to that of the D&D outer plane. . .
Devil, Dispater
In Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, Canto XXXIV, Dis is another name for Lucifer. “Pater” is Latin for “father,” so it is not much of a stretch from there to call the ruler of the city of Dis the “father of Dis” and thereby avoid the possible confusion from calling both the city and the character just “Dis.” . . .
Devil, Geryon
Originally a three-bodied monster from Greek mythology. However, the D&D version is taken directly from Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, Cantos XVI-XVII. . . .
Devil, Horned (Malebranche)
Inferno, by Dante Alighieri, Cantos XXI-XXII.” []    –Aardy R. DeVarque, Hahn Library

Contributed by Sam Donovan (Bowdoin, ’07)

“Devil May Cry” Video Game


“The game revolves around P.I. (Private Investigator) Dante and his one-man devil hunting agency ‘Devil May Cry’, which he runs in hopes of finding and killing the demons that killed his mother. Dante also has a twin brother named Vergil, whom we learn very little about during the course of the game. The story alludes to The Divine Comedy in the game’s areas (roughly resembling and representing inferno, purgatorio, and paradiso) as well as in some of the character names; however it is purely an aesthetic similarity, and indeed the game borrows from a very wide range of sources for inspiration. After a less than proper introduction, a woman named Trish, who bears a striking resemblance to Dante’s mother, convinces Dante to help her defeat Mundus, the Emperor of the Underworld, who is the leading antagonist of the game. The duo then sets off to Mallet Island, where Mundus’s resurrection is about to take place, and where the majority of the game plays out.” []    —Wikipedia

See Also: and

Contributed by Charlie Russell-Schlesinger (Bowdoin, ’08)

“The Lost” Video Game, IGN

the-lost-video-game-ign “The Lost is the story of Amanda Wright — a waitress that has struck a deal with the devil to bring her daughter back from the dead. During her journey through hell, Amanda is granted the ability to transform into three unique characters with differing abilities, and is forced to fight through the nine circles of hell inspired by Dante’s Inferno. Along the way, players can earn more than 50 different kinds of weapons, 24 diverse skills, and various other power-ups to help them. Unfortunately, legal troubles with the original publisher Crave Entertainment permanently ended the game’s chances at shipping to retail. Tragically, The Lost had already been completed when the decision to shelve it was made.”     —IGN

“Afterlife” Video Game, Lucas Arts, 1996

afterlife-video-game-lucas-arts-1996 “As a semi-omnipotent being, you are responsible for laying out a functional heaven and hell to reward or punish the denizens of a strange planet. Afterlife represents one of the most unusual videogame concepts to ever make it to store shelves. As a semi-omnipotent being (I know that’s a bit of an oxymoron, but this game’s full of things like that), you are responsible for laying out a functional heaven and hell to reward or punish the denizens of a strange planet. To do so, you must keep an eye on the most common sins and virtues of your people (who look a lot like the monsters from Critters), the balance of temporary to permanent souls in each of your buildings, and more mundane tasks like the building of roads and training facilities. For each soul you process you are rewarded with pennies from heaven, which may in turn be used to purchase more edifices and services.” [. . .]    –Trent C. Ward, GameSpot, July 12, 1996

Contributed by Ted Reinert (Bowdoin, ’05)