“Inferno” is now a video game, with a brawny, armor-clad Dante as its protagonist…The game’s creators say there’s an audience for it. Their research showed that most people had heard of “Inferno” but few knew what it was about. This, they say, gave them license to make a few improvements.
— The New York Times
PYNCHON’S “GRAVITY’S RAINBOW”: THE VIDEO GAME
TAGLINES: “Screaming lead came across the sky!” “Schmutzen nicht mit dem Raketemensch!” (Don’t mess with Rocketman!)
CHARACTER: You’re Tyrone Slothrop, a randy U.S. Army lieutenant stationed in London toward the end of World War II. Somebody’s stole your penis—or at least tampered with it. Somebody’s gonna pay.
MISSION: Fight your way across a war-torn Europe that anticipates the rise of American global hegemony. Don’t let anything stand in your way—Nazis, collaborators, narrative logic. “Inglorious Basterds” has nothing on you!
WEAPONS: Paranoia, conspiracy theories, V-2 rockets.
POWER-UPS: Silly songs, “knee tremblers,” kazoos. (Note: look for spinoff Kazoo Hero in stores this Christmas!)
BOSS DEMON: Pynchon himself, breaking the fourth wall. Tip: remove the brown paper bag from over his head to deplete his power.
HIDDEN LEVEL: The ending Pynchon declined to write. Tip: it was all a dream brought on by too many hallucinogens.
CHEAT CODE. Ctrl-H unlocks stash of hashish hidden at the Potsdam conference.
SOUNDTRACK: “The Flight of the Valkyries,” by Richard Wagner; “Der Fuehrer’s Face,” by Spike Jones; “Heroes,” by David Bowie.
RATING: P for Post-modern.
And look for GEORGE ORWELL’S ANIMAL FARMVILLE coming soon to Facebook (“Four legs good, two legs dead meat!”)
Robert Brenner is a humorist, critic, and ventriloquist. His work has been published in New York Magazine, Open Salon (open.salon.com/blog/robert_brenner), and Happy.