1. Fox Favinger
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    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

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    Books based on Video Games

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Fox Favinger, Oct 30, 2009.

    I think I've mentioned on here that I've read the X-Wing series and a few Battletech novels, but I've never read anything else based on a video game. X-Wing was pretty awesome and Battletech has always tried to make things as believable as possible which is why I found it so appealing. The MechWarrior series was horrible, with the exception of By Blood Betrayed, but it was only good because Mel Odom wrote over half the book.

    I'm curious to know what kind of knowledge you guys have on other game based literature. I'll even check out self-published fan fiction if it's good.

    I've always wanted to read the Mortal Kombat book that was released around the time of the movie. As a lifetime fanboy of MK I figured it would be worth checking out. The back stories behind MK can be pretty stupid but one cannot forget the awesomeness that was MK Mythologies: Sub-Zero. I just hope the book has really gory fatalities.

    I know an Elder Scrolls book was recently released. I always loved the in-game books. But I always played Elder Scrolls because the game pretty much lets you do whatever you want and become your own character in a complex and in depth world. That type of freedom cannot be transcribed into a novel. Plus I don't read fantasy lol

    The StarCraft books looked interesting, but the game's plot is so good how can any author top that in the same universe? I don't even like RTSs yet I play StarCraft lol

    Oh yeah there a Resistance book coming out. That might be worth looking into. I'd want it to be a balls to the wall slasher though. I love gibbing people is R2, the gib is so juicy looking.
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Have you read The Witcher novels or Metro 2033? They're novels that video games were based on...not to mention Alice in Wonderland, which became American McGee's Alice...and then there's the upcoming game version of Dante's Inferno.....

    Novelisations of games don't interest me at all (they've almost exclusively trashy sci-fi or fantasy), but making games out of novels is an interesting process...
     
  3. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    I read one of the two Mass Effect novels. Interesting only because I like the game, but it certainly isn't worth reading twice, in my mind. Disappointing, because Drew Karpyshyn is not a bad writer by any means. He also wrote the Darth Bane novels, which I liked. Curious that he couldn't write a good book about a game he had a huge part in creating.

    I also tried to read a Perfect Dark book, but couldn't make it to a hundred pages. Same for one MechWarrior book I have around here somewhere.
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I've read a few Resident Evil novels. They were alright and did an OK job of trying to recreate the horror and atmosphere of the video games.
     
  5. Fox Favinger
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    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

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    Not all game based novels are bad. The Battletech novels are a huge franchise with some really good works in there, I have a number of good ones on my shelf, the MechWarrior series is a horrible example of Battletech. Stackpole is one of the best authors of those books. I know many people that have read and enjoyed the X-Wing series, which stayed more true to the game than it did the Star Wars movies.

    As far novel based games the Bourne game that came out not to long ago stayed pretty true to its source material, too bad the gameplay was horrendous. I would very much like to play the Witcher, but I need to get a better computer first lol
     
  6. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    A few novlels have been released on the EVE-Online game. I did not know this when i picked it up (Was not in the fanfic section). Truely a load of turd these books are.

    Name something bad a book can have, and this has it. EVERYTHING.
     
  7. Fox Favinger
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    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

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    Wow, sounds like I've been pretty damn lucky with the ones I've picked up so far.
     
  8. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Betrayal at Krondor, an old (1993) RPG for the PC, is one of my all-time favourite games. The story was written by Raymond E. Feist, a popular fantasy author. Later, he wrote a series based on the game world and storyline, including a book titled "Krondor: the Betrayal". The books were good, though I liked the game better.

    I wish more game companies would invest in actual writers--tried and tested authors from an appropriate genre. Considering the game's massive success, it's a shame the idea never really caught on. . . Games are often based on books, but it's not the same if the author himself doesn't write the script.

    And books based on games are hardly ever written by the same person who came up with the original story. /facepalm.:(
     
  9. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    But writing doesn't necessarily translate well across mediums...writing a script for a video game is hugely different to writing a novel, and requires completely different skills (its far more aligned with screenplay writing, which is why game studios often recruit writers from Hollywood, however even screenwriting is a far cry from game writing), and success in one certainly doesn't foreground success in the other. It would be good if games were written better in general, but its not as simple as just getting a good novelist or a good screenwriter involved. Besides which, it seems like the focus in video games is shifting away from predetermined narratives (which are extremely limiting in video games as they exist at present) in favour of more open-ended games that allow players to create their own narratives. There's been a surprising amount of critical and academic thought about the potential of video games to deliver narratives...
     
  10. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Actually, the game played out much like a novel. It was organised into chapters and probably contained enough text to fill a book. Most, if not all of the text was written the same as it would have been in a novel, which is exactly what made the game so awesome. The best graphic designers of today fail utterly in attempting to create the same mood and imagery that Feist could inspire with words alone. And I'm not the only one who enjoyed it--the game was a huge success.

    The point is, a great fantasy or sci-fi author knows how to tell a story. If you've played many RPG games for the PC or console, you'll know that most of them are an absolute joke, story-wise.

    But I agree that most games aren't anything like Krondor. . . more's the pity. I'm saying they should be.;)
     
  11. Irish87
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    Irish87 Contributing Member

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    I was wondering if anyone had read any of the Dragon Age Origins stuff? I'm not a massive fantasy fan, but the game looks amazing and I can't help but wonder if the books (I think there are more than one, not sure) will catch my attention as well as the game did, especially seeing as I don't like the genre.
     
  12. Twisted Inversely
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    Twisted Inversely Senior Member

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    I remember reading somewhere that the entire rift war series was based on a universe he created for D&D, hence the dedication to the Friday nighters (his gaming group) at the start of every book.
     
  13. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    A novel which will act as a sequel to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion will be released in about a month. It's called The Infernal City, I think.
     
  14. Fox Favinger
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    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

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    Yeah I think I mentioned that, but I'm not that interested because like I said it was the interaction and freedom that made Oblivion so great, not the plot for me. I didn't even beat the main quest and I already maxed out my character's level lol If the book is very well received then maybe I will check it out.

    I've written game stories for people and myself. Since my most recent development team has disbanded (again) I've decided to convert the script into a novel. Since I had to cut out a lot of stuff for gameplay I'm putting it all back in, problem is the novel looks like it will be ridiculously long since the script is crazy long. Both can be done, I don't see why the concept of a game can't transfer into a novel, it just takes the right guy to do it.

    I just checked out MK on amazon. Almost all the reviews state it's really good book, but Jeff Rovin deviates from the source material too much for me. No Johnny Cage or Fatalities? Screw that.
     
  15. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have only read 2 books that were originaly games. Halo: Fall of Reach and Resident Evil: Umbrella Conspiracy. I am not picky when it comes to reading. If I can enjoy the story and it doesn't have to bad of writing(though to be fair I am sadly not the best judge at this) I will read it.

    The Halo novel was interesting and a fun quick read. Was interesting to read how the Spartan porject was created and the begining of the war.

    The Resident Evil novel was great. Well I thoroughly enjoyed it. Well I suppose a few parts were a bit disapointed. Never played the game. I have yet to get my hands on a copy. I plan to read the rest of the novels. :)
     
  16. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    This was one of the books I was referring to in my earlier post about RE novels. The RE books are entertaining and stick pretty close to the story of the video games. You should definitely check out the rest of the novels if you are an RE fan. You should also play the games since they are very, very fun.
     
  17. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    But then there's a few games I've played that have more enjoyable writing than many fantasy novels- like Planescape: Torment, NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer (which unfortunately is an expansion pack to a very poor original campaign instead of a stand-alone) and Vampire: Bloodlines. I don't think any of them would translate well into novels though.

    Which brings me to the OP, aside from the Krondor novels which were actually my favourite books by Feist (and I've not even played the game) I haven't read any books based on games that I've liked.

    As arron mentioned before, writing for an interactive medium is very different from writing a novel, and in losing the elements that make a videogame enjoyable- visuals, sound and interaction, I've found such stories feel empty. Without hearing the ghosts of the prison whisper in your ear, or seeing the world crumble into decay, or running helplessly from an invincible pyramid head, you cannot experience something like Silent Hill 2- only have it described to you.
     
  18. Fox Favinger
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    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

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    I seriously disagree with you Agreen. It's the writer's duty to allow the reader to recreate those scenes in their head. You make it seem like writers aren't good enough at description. So far the game based books I've read stayed very true to the source material and had some epic battle scenes. Seriously (good) Battletech books kick ass. I just want to check out more game based books.
     
  19. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    No, there are writers who are perfectly capable of providing excellent description- but excellent description does not provide the same experience as immersion into an interactive environment- when reading a novel, you do not control the actions of the characters, you respond to them as they occur. Likewise, novelisations based on the three games I mentioned previously would require a herculean effort if they were to succeed as what makes the plot of those games compelling are the ways in which the player can participate in the story, make decisions and have those decisions force tremendous effect on the plot. Beyond the vicarious feeling experienced from an especially gifted bout of description, a reader need not directly participate in the action of a novel.

    As for the battletech books, I actually liked them more than the various D+D books- Saga of the Grey Death Legion, The Jade Phoenix Trilogy and Twilight of the Clans were my favourites. I've found that books based on the history or worlds of gaming settings tend to be more interesting than attempts to rewrite a game as a novel- I have a softspot for dark fantasy and a few of the books in the Ravenloft setting- the ones about Lord Strahd and the ones about Soth weren't bad.
     
  20. yournamehere
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    I recently acquired a copy of Golden Sun. It is considered to be the best RPG of the modern age or something of the sort. While the game itself is incredible, the story really buries itself deep within fantasy convention. The story by itself is a joke.

    I do agree with arron89 that writing for a videogame isn't at all like writing for a movie or book. You CAN write it like a novel (like Golden Sun); you CAN write it like a movie (Wing Commander), but you can also write it like those "choose your own path books" that went out of style the day consoles rolled hot off the press. The process also has to consider challenges for the player. Simply put, writing a game script to the quality of Day of the Tentacle is one of the hardest forms of writing one can do.

    writing a 'choose your own path' book is actually very, very hard. The story always tends to be generic because of it's nature, and videogames have just now started to delve deeper into the concept. The fact that most of the stories are a joke is acceptable, considering the age of the medium.

    I would like to start seeing more innovation though.

    ...As for fan fiction... I read a lost in space novel in the 3rd grade and never went back.

    peace,
    -nick
     
  21. Fox Favinger
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    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

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    I should clarify that I'm interested in books that simply takes place in the same world and settings as games. I'm not looking for a book to recreate the interactive experience the game gave me. I just want a story in that setting, like you have stated.

    I think we have misunderstood each other and that I have not clarified what I am looking for correctly. Yes trying to recreate the games' experience is stupid, I just want the same plot and setting.
     
  22. Joran Selemis
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    Anyone ever played/seen Postal? It's a really messed up video game that got turned into a movie. Like, excessively violent, blatantly sexual, just plain crazy. The movie was MA and it didn't even come close to the amount of crazy stuff in the game.

    I don't think it's a book, but that's the closest thing I can think of.
     
  23. Fox Favinger
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    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

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    Postal is a Uwe Bowlle (I don't care to spell his name right) movie and should be automatically boycotted by gamers. Also being a Bowlle movie it automatically sucks because there is no evidence to suggest that Bowlle is capable of making a film that is remotely enjoyable to watch.

    Rant mode disengaged. I hope you enjoyed your dose of Bowlle hate.

    EDIT: I'm ordering the Blood of Kerensky Trilogy by Stackpole once I have the money. It's supposed to be way better than the Warrior trilogy I read. Supposedly the writing quality went downhill from all the best authors during the MechWarrior and later the MechWarrior Dark Ages series. I was told by Battletech fans that this was because the publisher Roc started imposing harsh word limits to get more books to fit on the shelves. They had to be extremely short and thus the stories had to be simplified.

    I have a few books from the MechWarrior series and the only one that I recommend is By Blood Betrayed by Blaine Lee Pardoe and Mel Odom. Pardoe's writing kind of sugffers but Odom more than make up for it. The other books in the series I've read just plain sucked. They were too short and had very little going on.

    I checked out Resistance: The Gathering Storm by William C. Diets. Reviews were mostly positive, but this is the same guy that wrote the Halo books. Is this author any good? Supposedly this book is supposed to be a alot better than Halo.
     

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