The Wonderland Effect: Video Games Inspired By Alice in Wonderland

In the days before video games and movies about fantastical lands, Alice in Wonderland was a unique look into the mind of a girl whose imagination was boundless. The Lewis Caroll classic invited us all to look through the looking glass and took us on a trip through Wonderland.

The Cheshire Cat, March Hare, the Rabbit, and the Queen of Hearts were there to hold our hands through the journey or scare us into action, imagining Alice as an unlikely savior of the land.

When you think of it, a lot of the story’s content is good material for games. That may be why there are games that made the story of Alice the core of their games. Whether inspired by the story or deviated from the regular narrative, these games all give us a look into parallel universes of Alice’s dimension. The games include three action-adventure games, a game inspired by the story, and a game based on it.

1. American McGee’s Alice

Here’s one game that’s inspired by the story but is a far cry from it. Some consider it a parallel universe of the usual Alice story we were all used to. Here, Alice travels to a warped, cruel parody of the Wonderland she loves. Where there was wonder, there are now twisted representations of the characters she used to love. Alice must now embark on a journey to try and find out why this happened.

The game brought a refreshing treatment to a beloved classic. It is a good interpretation of what would happen if Alice went ‘truly’ mad. It has turned into a classic itself, warranting a follow-up with Alice: Madness Returns.

2. Alice: Madness Returns

The follow-up to the first Alice story has her returning to a Wonderland she saved from a deranged Queen of Hearts. She is still afflicted by the same problem hounding her in the first part, but this time, she faces a new evil much more powerful than the Red Queen.

This new game explores a new lore where Alice uses weapons derived from everyday items. Behind the game is a dark secret that delves deeper into this parallel dimension of the vanilla Alice’s world.

3. Soul Sacrifice

Soul Sacrifice is a game created by Marvelous AQL and Japan Studio for the PS Vita. While it is not a representation of Alice’s Wonderland, the element of entering worlds through a portal – in this case, a book – is here. It imitates Alice falling into the rabbit hole or through the looking glass. The player assumes the role of the main character, who quests to gain enough power to defeat a Red Queen-like sorcerer, the main antagonist.

4. Wonderland

The game Wonderland is a text-driven adventure game during the earlier days of computer games. It follows the adventures of Alice in Wonderland but only covers elements of the first book. In the game, developer Magnetic Scrolls inadvertently used a type of menu system called Magnetic Windows, which showed different items that the character carried on their person. It is, in effect, one of the earlier attempts to use the world of Caroll’s Wonderland as a backdrop for a video game.

5. Dragon’s Lair

Dirk the Daring and Daphne both star in this indirect adaptation of the story. Dragon’s Lair was released in 1991 and was re-released in 2010 and 2011 for the Nintendo DS and the PS3, respectively. The way the hero follows the villain through different dimensions is inspired in part by Dirk following the evil sorcerer Mordroc in his quest to rescue Daphne.

In the future, more games could emerge to make us revisit Wonderland. For now, try any of the five games above and be your own Alice!

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