Tom Clancy and the Video Game Franchise-Shane Kelly

This blog is on the Chapter 3 presentation: Finding the Origami Unicorn and is in a way related to the Chapter 4 presentation.

Tom Clancy was born in 1947 and graduated from Loyola College in 1969 where he studied English Literature.  He has dozens of books published, some of them were made into movies later on, some of them were made into video games, and a select few were made into both.  His books were tremendously popular.  They are primarily non-fiction novels that pertain to war, spec-ops, and modern warfare.  He had always been interested in being in the military and he would have most definitely served but he failed an eye exam upon his application so he did not go.  After being rejected in the 1970’s he worked for an insurance company for a number of years before beginning his literary legacy.

His first book was published in 1984, The Hunt for Red October.  But, all of his literary works are not the ones that I intend on discussing in this blog.  Many gamers of the first generation of New Media may not even know that some of the more famous games that appeared on PC, Xbox, Playstation 2, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3.  In 1998, after having recently separating from his wife, he wrote a book called Rainbow Six.  That same year a game was released by the same name that was based on the book that he had written.  He knew what his book was going to be about and knew that the growing gaming generation could truly allow this story come to life.  Many aspects of the game itself may bring about some questions.  The story is basically about an anti-terrorist agency whose job is to seek out and destroy the eco-terrorists.  There are very few mentions of the actual book plot in the game itself because most gamers want to pick up a gun, shoot a handful of terrorists in the face, and call it a day.  However, there are very intricate characters that appear in the game who have background stories and connections that are only briefly mentioned in the games.

After this game sky rocketed in popularity towards the millennium, many gamers wanted to know more about the characters and became interested in the stories that were explained in detail in the books themselves.  This allowed a type of “Tom Clancy” culture to evolve so the slightly more intellectual gamers could discuss amongst friends the connections they made between the book and the game and now could discuss it on the internet.  Clancy, a smart man himself, so this is a beautiful opportunity to release a sequel to Rainbow Six.  He also, a few years after the millennium, came up with the brilliant idea of another game to add to his soon-to-be Franchise.  Splinter Cell was released on Xbox in 2002 a a result of Clancy going to Ubisoft, a reputable gaming company, and telling them this idea.  The game was loved by Ubisoft, so it was developed, released, and became a smash hit.  In 2004 Clancy wrote and published a Splinter Cell book, based on the video game, where he created the same things that the Rainbow Six book did for the game.  Background information and a lot of questions were answered in this book and, since the Internet had now become a tremendous forum-media, the Tom Clancy culture grew more and more, Tom Clancy’s name appears on the top of the game case in big, silver letters.

Clancy continued to allow his games to grow more and more with the releases of his books, following the game concepts and creations, Ghost Recon and a number of sequels to both Splinter Cell and Rainbow Six.  God Bless this man.  I may be a bit biased since I am a gamer and a reader, but this man had this concept down to a science relatively early as far as New Media is concerned.  Not only can I sneak up behind people and snap their neck after interrogating them, command my team of marines to attack a rebel base, and shoot blindly at a group of seemingly evil people, but I can also become highly engaged in the character backgrounds and side stories as a result of this intricate non-fiction novels.  As an English major myself, this is definitely encouraging.


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