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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dante Alighieri: Superhero

Dante Alighieri (c.1265 – 1321) is known by many simply as il Poeta (the Poet). His "Divina Commedia" is considered to be one of the greatest works of world literature.
A statue of his likeness stands in the Piazza di Santa Croce in his home city of Florence (right).

Now il Poeta is set for a hi-tech makeover. On February 9th, 2010 Electronic Arts (EA) will release "Dante's Inferno" - an interactive video game for the PS3, XBox360, and PSP gaming platforms.

EA's website explains the transformation...

"Inspired by the real Dante Alighieri, but adapted for a new generation and a new medium, the hero of the game is a soldier who defies death and fights for love against impossible odds. The Italian mercenary Dante returns home from the wars to find that his beloved Beatrice has been murdered, and her soul pulled down into Hell by a dark force. He gives chase, and vows to get her back. For weapons, he wields Death's soul-reaping scythe, and commands holy powers of the cross, given to him by Beatrice."

Apparently, gamers will be able to select from a menu of Nine Rings of Hell to confront evil and fight bad guys. The nine circles are: Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Avarice (or "Greed"), Wrath and Sloth (or "Anger"), Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and Treason. Sounds like lots of fun.

After EA releases Inferno early next year, I wonder if Purgatorio and Paradiso video games will follow.

Having seen Gustave Doré and Salvador Dalí's powerful artistic visions inspired by Dante's masterpiece, I suspect that Electronic Arts has a hard act to follow. I wish them luck, but fear that their main character - superhero Dante - will exude more brawn than brain. Oh yeah, Virgil is a wimp.