The Muddle Earth Journey: Brand Consistency and Cross-Media Intertextuality in Game Adaptation



In reviewing the current state of adaptation studies in 2008, Thomas Leitch argued that many scholars — even those claiming to have overcome the age of moralistic comparative novel-to-film studies that value fidelity above all else — have found it very difficult to escape the grip of literary status and the fixation with novel-to-film adaptations. Leitch argues that they should instead focus on Bakhtinian intertextuality, according to which ‘every text — adaptation or not — is influenced by a series of previous texts from which it could not help borrowing’.1 Says Leitch: ‘[D]espite the best efforts of […] virtually every other theorist of adaptation past and present, the field is still haunted by the notion that adaptations ought to be faithful to their ostensible source texts.’2 Two main and connected conclusions can be drawn from Leitch’s review: (1) ‘there is no such thing as a single source for any adaptation’; and, (2) scholars should no longer engage in value-comparative studies that persistently devalue adaptations into newer media by negatively comparing their narratives and aesthetics with typically highbrow literature source texts.3 In what follows, I take up two of Leitch’s suggested avenues of inquiry for a reinvigorated adaptation studies, investigating questions about ‘different kinds of fidelity’ raised by ‘adaptations of other sorts of texts than canonical literary works’ and about ‘relations between adaptation and other intertextual modes’.4


Virtual World Source Text Television Series Television Text Production Context 
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    Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell, Muddle Earth (London: Macmillan, 2004).Google Scholar
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    On the hero’s journey genre, see Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces 3rd Edition (Novato: New World Library, 2008).Google Scholar
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© Claudio Pires Franco 2015

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