Game of Thrones Video Games: Where are You?

When it comes to George R R Martin’s fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, fans are well used to waiting. The author is renowned for the care and attention that he piles into each book. This has led to the novels being outpaced by the popular Game of Thrones (GOT) television series that is based on them.

Yet it is not just the novels that fans have had to wait for. Season 7 of Game of Thrones will air in July, several months after many were expecting to be enjoying it. Series co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have cited the need for winter weather as part of the delay – it was simply not possible to film the scenes they needed while the sun was shining.

Season 7’s delay is likely to have a knock-on effect, with rumours rife that season 8 may not appear until 2019, leaving fans waiting more than a year for the conclusion of the epic fantasy show.

Telltale Games

Game of Thrones fans have also been left wanting when it comes to video games, which are few and far between. In 2011, Cyanide released a Game of Thrones strategy game. The less said about that rather pitiful effort, the better. In 2012, Cyanide tried again, producing a Game of Thrones action game for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. The game’s setting ran concurrently to season 1 of the show but reviews were mixed.

In 2014, a further Game of Thrones video game was released, this time by Telltale Games. Available for Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One, the cinematic game was more positively received than the Cyanide effort but still suffered from graphical glitches and a lack of introduction for those who weren’t familiar with the TV series.

The dearth of compelling Game of Thrones video games was highlighted by Forbes in 2016 when an article on eight video games that fans craving more Game of Thrones should play failed to include a single actual Game of Thrones game.

Size and Complexity

However, there are games out there if you look. For example, those in need of their Game of Thrones fix will no doubt enjoy the atmospheric GOT slot game on the Lottoland website, which should help to wile away the hours until season 7 finally hits our screens. This officially licenced game features the well-known Game of Thrones soundtrack with a five-reel format that will be immediately familiar to casino-goers. There are 243 ways to win, with the house banners featuring on the reels and a unique Iron Throne bonus game trigger.

Consider that more than 65 commercial video games have been released based on the Lego construction system and the absence of Game of Thrones video games seems even more Stark (pun intended). So, why is there such a notable absence when it comes to decent Game of Thrones video games?

The problem may well be the sheer size and complexity of Game of Thrones. The strategy genre fails to take into account the scheming and betrayal that are integral to many GOT victories. The action genre can’t shake the fact that all battles featuring main characters have to have set outcomes or the whole plot would implode. The cinematic, narrative genre fails for much the same reason – it’s impossible to stray too far from the fixed plot, which doesn’t make for very enjoyable or exciting gameplay.

Perhaps one day an ambitious and innovative video game producer will manage to crack it – we very much look forward to that day!

the author

He’s a cat. He likes to play video games. He often has a hard time with this since he’s a gamer cat living in a gamer human world, but he gets by.