In the late 19th century, there was the Dime Novel
. Novels about heroes, all exclusively male, who traveled the world, got into danger in exotic countries, and sometimes rescued the Damsel In Distress
Just before the mid 20th century, there was the serial movie. The film equivalent of the Dime Novel
Now, we have Uncharted
. Whether an intentional tribute or not, it very much brings the Dime Novel
into the early 21st century and updates its tropes perfectly to fit the times, while also subverting many of them.
Nathan Drake is a man who's seeking treasure in faraway places, getting into danger that's way over his head. Elena Fisher is the Damsel In Distress
... or maybe not! She can handle a gun herself, even if she's not as skilled as Drake, and in addition to working side-by-side, the two sometimes get separated, and sometimes rescue each other from danger. The many locations are classic Dime Novel
exotic locales, though updated - there is no Darkest Africa
here or offensive portrayals of natives, but instead, modern enemies include modern day pirates, mercenaries, and a madman's hired army.
While the characters are archetypes - the Intrepid Reporter
(Elena), the Adventurer Archaeologist
(more or less Drake), the Femme Fatale
(Chloe), the Dirty Old Man
(Sullivan) - they all have well-written dialog, fun interactions, and other aspects of their personality that evolve them beyond their basic archetype. After a while, you come to see them as fleshed out individuals and not the simple flat characters that Dime Novels
were filled with. And of course, the vast differences in lifestyle and culture between the age of the Dime Novel
and today are also taken into account, as characters use walkie-talkies to communicate, plots concern war criminals wanted by the UN, and all technology is modern, as are the character relationships and gender interactions.
This is the modern-day playable Dime Novel
. The current incarnation of a genre more than a hundred years old. It is also the Spiritual Successor
to the film serials of the 30s and 40s. And in the middle of war games, fantasy adventures, and gritty, dark-themed games all around, Uncharted
is a breath of fresh air with its beautiful locales, toned-down PG-13 rated violence and language, and original setting and theme.