Anyone who shares my interest in fairy tales might want to check out this article. I’ve come across Jack Zipes’s name a few times before. I know he edited a collection of fairy tales through the years (starting with “Cupid and Psyche” and continuing into the twentieth century) that I read (although I can’t remember if I ever finished it), and I seem to recall seeing a mention that he joined the International Wizard of Oz Club the same year I did (1993). The collection included an L. Frank Baum story, “The Queen of Quok,” so he’s presumably a fellow Baum fan.
Anyway, Zipes’s mention of how fairy tales have been adapted into multiple media reminds me of another topic I wanted to address, which is whether video games can count as fairy tales. Not all of them, obviously, but many of my favorites are along those lines. Look at the Super Mario Bros. series, for instance. It’s a quest tale with the hero having to battle a monster in order to rescue a princess, and receiving supernatural assistance along the way. The main archetypes are all there. Even Mario and Luigi being plumbers fits with those tales that involve peasants coming up in the world through a series of tasks. I don’t really see the Mario games as addressing any real-life issues, in the way that Zipes points out fairy tales often do, but I don’t know that this is a totally necessary element of the genre anyway. Besides, there are other video game series that really do deal with actual issues, so it’s not like that’s impossible with the game format. It could just be that I’m attracted to games that use that format because I’ve always been interested in fantasy and fairy stories. It’s not like shoot-’em-ups and sports games generally have these elements, and they’ve remained consistently popular throughout the history of electronic games. On the other hand, it’s not like fantasy-based series like Mario and Zelda are at all obscure, either.
So, what do you think of this idea? Roger Ebert has claimed that video games can’t be art, but art is a tricky subject. What about their being fairy tales for the modern generation (roughly speaking)?