"The Great Gatsby," the novel, starts with the narrator, Nick Carraway, recalling a piece of advice his father gave him when he was young. The beginning sets the tone for the rest of F. Scott Fitzgerald's lyrical treatment of the American dream.
"The Great Gatsby," the videogame, opens on Nick Carraway shooting waiters armed with trays of martinis, scooting past falling chandeliers in Jay Gatsby's Long Island mansion and dodging around Roaring Twenties flappers. It gets weirder from there, continuing with Nick staring down a pair of eyes, maneuvering through a speakeasy and zooming past ghost soldiers on a beach.
As a version of Mr. Fitzgerald's 1925 classic, it is a far cry from the Baz Luhrmann 3-D movie, in theaters Friday. But the film starring Leonardo DiCaprio might give more life to this avant-garde, retro-style Nintendo 7974.OK -0.37% game, which makes the celebrated American novel look like Super Mario Bros.
The game was created by Charlie Hoey and Peter Malamud Smith, both now 30 years old. Mr. Hoey, who wrote the code, is a developer at the Barbarian Group, a creative agency in New York. Mr. Smith, an editor for Parade magazine's website, handled the artwork and used his knowledge of Nintendo music to compose a soundtrack with original songs like "Green Light Rhapsody" and "Green Light Nocturne."
The idea to make a Gatsby videogame came to Mr. Hoey one night when he was fiddling with an 8-bit copy of the book's cover art. Mr. Smith, a fellow "Gatsby" fan and Nintendo buff, was easily sold on the concept.
The whole process took about nine months. Mr. Hoey had never made a game like this before and took some of its code from his friend Dylan Valentine, a software developer, who was intrigued by what Mr. Hoey had told him about the project. "You're making an adventure game from probably the least likely story that could be an adventure game," Mr. Valentine said. "I was tickled with that."
Read more about the Gatsby video game in the full story at The Wall Street Journal.