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In anticipation of watching the first of the trilogy of movies based on The Hobbit next week, I’m currently re-reading my original copy – published in the ’80s – of Tolkien’s novel. I have a listing called movie and book which charts those movies that are based on books which I decide to watch/re-watch while reading/re-reading the book it was based on.

If I’m being honest with myself this re-read of The Hobbit is only my second only read of the book. What impresses me the most is the development of character in such a short novel; Bilbo Baggins grows from the homely Hobbit of The Shire into an adventurer that will inspire other Hobbits in future tales.

Around the time of my first read, I remember a school-hood friend owning a copy of the text adventure game that was based on The Hobbit book. I never got to own a copy of this game myself and remember looking for excuses to go around my friends house just to get a look at it even if I didn’t get a chance to play it myself – he wasn’t one to share.  The Hobbit was very much the primer for a game that left a lasting impression on me a few years later; Elite – a game that hinted at a big universe of discover and wonder.

I look now at the games since that have been based in Tolkien’s world and it’s all rather depressing. It makes me question why a developer like Telltale Games hasn’t been allowed to re-work a version of The Hobbit, that would tie-in with Peter Jackson’s movie. I believe not having a new Hobbit game is a very big opportunity missed. Wilderland has a treasure-chest of stories that could have a bold vision via a story-driven game…it seems a real shame that, for now at least, there’s no chance of that materialising.

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