I’m a huge fan, nay, disciple of the Game of Thrones universe and I love gaming, but my two passions have never mixed. Many have tried, and most have failed to capture the spirit of the show in a gaming format. The games below have tried, and failed to bring Game of Thrones into the gaming mainstream.
Blood of Dragons (PC – 2007)
The first officially endorsed GOT game ( as in, George R.R. Martin approved its existence) is perhaps the most successful of them all. Blood of Dragons is a MUSH or Multi-User Shared Hallucination. Or in English, a shared text-only online roleplaying game. Blood of Dragons even requires you to have read most of the books before you begin playing. If you’ve ever played Zork then you’re already fully prepared for what Blood of Dragons offers. Go to the official site, read the rules and get ready for an excellent interpretation of Westeros. But this well-read game will remain a mystery except for those who search for it, or who’ve read this article. The reason this game sucks is because it’s too inaccessible for all but the most hardcore of gamers.
A Game of Thrones: Genesis (PC – 2011)
Officially, this is the “first” GOT game and it’s a stinker. It’s a strategy game but one that’s best avoided, unless you want the gameplay equivalent of Theon Greyjoy. Most reviewers say how the game is stale and unfinished, or that the campaign is sluggish and poorly paced. Genesis came out shortly after the launch of the TV show, and was obviously created to cash in on its success. And anything, any medium that cashes in on a popular TV or film is bound to suck, which this barely playable mess is.
Game of Thrones: The Role-Playing Game (PC, PS3, Xbox 360 – 2012)
Game of Thrones: RPG is awful. I’ve played it and I wish I hadn’t. There’s different characters to play as, cool music and some violence to keep GOT fans interested, but it fails on every other level to engage its gaming audience. The storyline is its worst aspect, along with the graphics, as it feels rushed and decidedly bland. The decisions you make never feel like it’s making an impact to the game. If one character lives or another dies, who cares? The same cutscene triggers with different music or slightly altered text. Game of Thrones: RPG is also too long and after 30-hours of play, you’ll want to pull your hair out. Poor graphics, bland gameplay and grating sound equals a sucky game.
Game of Thrones Ascent (Internet browsers – 2013)
Like FarmVille? Then you’ll love Game of Thrones Ascent, a Facebook and iOS game aimed at the casual market. You build armies, take over realms and try to become the king of the Iron Throne. It’s a surprising amount of fun for a casual game, mainly because I’m deeply in love with GOT and everything surrounding it. It’s all about clicking and reading though, much in the “choose your own adventure” style. It’s also ultimately, a freemium game therefore winning at Game of Thrones Ascent is more about the actual money in your bank account, then it is about strategy. Money over gameplay? That’s the main reason why this game sucks.
Westeros: Total War (PC – Medieval II Total War: Kingdoms mod)
Based on the framework laid down by the excellent Medieval II: Total War, Westeros: Total War, is a “theme” for the aforementioned game yet it’s tied into the TV show more than the books. For those who’ve never played a Total War game before, get ready for an intensely in-depth strategy game which rarely, if ever treats you like a newbie. The add-on can be downloaded for free, provided you already have a paid-for version of Medieval II Total War: Kingdoms. Pity it’s not an official Game of Thrones game and because it’s an add-on only that many won’t get to play, it remains stuck in a sucky situation.
But wait, there’s hope.
Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series (2014)
Here’s the one reason why Game of Thrones games may have a future. Everything Telltale touches it turns to gold. The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, Back to the Future… if anyone knows how to created interesting games out of film and TV, it’s Telltale. While there’s been no screenshots or videos yet, the Game of Thrones game from Telltale should be exceptional by default. All we know is that playing the game will feel like we’re watching the TV show, so say the developers.