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General Discussion => Books 'n Readin' => Topic started by: Jinto on April 16, 2008, 04:45:32 PM

Title: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: Jinto on April 16, 2008, 04:45:32 PM
In a rare twist on the whole "book or video game that needs to be a movie" debates, I think people overlook the fact that there are worthwhile stories in some video games that risk being lost to the ages due to both advancements in hardware technology that leaves older software obsolete and unable to be utilized, and to copyright that locks these games into the aforementioned technological dungeons of obsoletion and forgetfulness that may never again allow those stories to see the light of day, barring an act of an enlightened congress (I know, impossible) that actually said "you know what? we'll lose those stories, those works of art, if we keep 'em locked away! we hereby declare it's officially ok for people to freely translate old games into more modern programming and onto more modern hardware. all for the sake of posterity." (again, I know, it'll never happen.)

So, what games out there have you played that you think should be translated into books so that, at the very least, you would be able to go back and read the story without either having to play through the game again (some games might have frustrated you with crappy gameplay and maybe all you want is the story), or dealing with hard to find or hard to deal with hardware and software? or having to re-write the game into new code yourself and risk copyright lawsuits.

Naturally, I expect adventure games, which always focused on a story, will top the lists, but I know there's some other games out there that had enough of a story that it may warrant a good book translation. Of course, we all realise that some things would be lost in the translation (besides the visuals obviously), such as the multiple humorous responses you're often given to click through in comedic adventure games before advancing the game/story, so put that problem aside as inevitable and just let us know what stories you think should have a book for better preservation than they may ever have strictly as software.

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I'll start off by wishing that "The Longest Journey" and it's sequel, "Dreamfall" came in book forms.

The LucasArts adventure games, and even the Kings Quest adventure games all deserve books too.

I also wish that the Myst games themselves came with book translations that would go well with the actual books already written that cover story material outside of the games.

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Actually, now that I mention Myst's books, I'll suggest that if you know of a book based on a game already, such as "The Dig" by Alan Dean Foster ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dig (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dig) ) that was made into a Lucas Arts Adventure game, then mention that in this thread as well.

Another game series that had books based on them was the Tex Murphy adventure games. Only two of the five games got a book though, "Under a Killing Moon" (which for some reason appears to sell for ridiculous amounts of money) and "Pandora Directive".
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: doggans on April 16, 2008, 07:16:23 PM
and even the Kings Quest games all deserve books too.

You should pick up "The King's Quest Companion" by Peter Spear. A very fun read.

There was also a trilogy of spin-off stories, but I haven't read those yet.
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: skenderberg on April 16, 2008, 07:58:50 PM
I read Wishbringer by Craig Shaw Gardner, based on the text adventure game of the same title.  It sucked rather badly.

I also read one of the Myst novels, but the title escapes me.  It had to do with the newly reestablished D'ni settlement finding a linking book to a dimension of other D'ni refugees who practiced slavery on a grand scale.  The two groups were clearly building up to a grand conflict of some sort on this issue, but before anything could happen, all the slavers died off of a bacterial disease that the first group had brought with them.  It was kind of anticlimactic.

And that is the extent of my video game novelization experience.
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: BBQ Platypus on April 16, 2008, 08:10:54 PM
If books were to be published based on the Elder Scrolls series of games, I would definitely read them.  If they're as good as the in-game books, they'd definitely be worth my time and money.
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: Fortis on April 16, 2008, 08:12:30 PM
I've thought about writing a Metroid book and selling it to Nintendo...but I guess I would need to break out as an author before they would consider me...
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: Jinto on April 16, 2008, 08:38:39 PM
If books were to be published based on the Elder Scrolls series of games, I would definitely read them.  If they're as good as the in-game books, they'd definitely be worth my time and money.

Ooooooooo!! Good call. I agree. I love their in-game stuff. Some books telling a story in that world setting would be awesome. They wouldn't even necessarily need to follow the general story of the games, although I'd like an overview novel of those... but I suppose game-play guides may be the best bet for that.

Hmm... actually that's an interesting way of looking at archiving game stories... by collecting their game guide books. Not preferrable by any means, but perhaps better than no book at all? Any thoughts on that?
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: RobtheBarbarian on April 16, 2008, 08:43:28 PM
Hmm... actually that's an interesting way of looking at archiving game stories... by collecting their game guide books. Not preferrable by any means, but perhaps better than no book at all? Any thoughts on that?

A lot of times strategy guides will avoid mentioning major plot points so it won't spoil the story for people reading ahead.

On topic, I don't know about games that should inspire stories, but I know that Halo does have about a half dozen books out. I bought two and the only one I liked was Fall of Reach, but I don't think I'd like any book was written after the first game anyway...
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: Jinto on April 16, 2008, 08:50:19 PM
A lot of times strategy guides will avoid mentioning major plot points so it won't spoil the story for people reading ahead.

oh yeah. duh. that's true.
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: mrbasehart on April 17, 2008, 05:29:11 AM
I think a Monkey Island book would be pretty entertaining. 
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: Jinto on April 17, 2008, 10:01:11 AM
Sam & Max at least has the comic books (recently reprinted. yay!) it was based on. The original game story itself isn't in a book form though, of course neither is the newly released games. Although the comics do contain elements that were used in the game.

I noticed Warcraft has books based on that line of games. As does Halo.

I'd like to see a book for Psychonauts and Beyond Good & Evil as well.
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: Fortis on April 17, 2008, 10:09:03 AM
What I would really like to see, is some Legend of Zelda books, that take advantage of what I want to do with a Metroid book...Give Link, and Samus personalities. These two never talk in the games (which I actually kinda like) but these video games have very strong stories, just not that great of character development. We really don't see any of Samus' character until Metroid Fusion, which is the fifth Metroid game

So if these books were to be made, I would like to see Link and Samus don on interesting and strong characters, and with that development, and the strong stories, these could actually find their way towards the silver screen.

Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: DarthChimay on April 17, 2008, 11:56:21 AM
I'd like to see a big ornate picture book of the Prince of Persia: Sands of Time; one with all sorts of complex, beautiful Arabian art, etc. Something that really plays up the fairy tale aspect of the first game that was so stupidly ignored for the subsequent games.

And it's interesting that you mention giving Link and Samus personalities. At GDC this year, there was a sociologist who gave a talk on what makes game characters memorable. The top three things were intriguing in-game interactions (developing relationships, having a personality, and having abilities); having a deep, rich backstory; and, paradoxically, being a blank-slate character, such as Link and Samus (who were specifically named). Players felt they could project themselves on these characters. It makes me wonder if giving a backstory to either of these characters would hurt them in some way, unlike, say Snake or Alyx Vance (who were the examples of the first two categories mentioned in the survey data).
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: Fortis on April 17, 2008, 12:06:41 PM
I'd like to see a big ornate picture book of the Prince of Persia: Sands of Time; one with all sorts of complex, beautiful Arabian art, etc. Something that really plays up the fairy tale aspect of the first game that was so stupidly ignored for the subsequent games.

And it's interesting that you mention giving Link and Samus personalities. At GDC this year, there was a sociologist who gave a talk on what makes game characters memorable. The top three things were intriguing in-game interactions (developing relationships, having a personality, and having abilities); having a deep, rich backstory; and, paradoxically, being a blank-slate character, such as Link and Samus (who were specifically named). Players felt they could project themselves on these characters. It makes me wonder if giving a backstory to either of these characters would hurt them in some way, unlike, say Snake or Alyx Vance (who were the examples of the first two categories mentioned in the survey data).

See that observation is brilliant, it really brings out why Link and Samus are so loved, they have well developed back stories, but being the "blank-slate character" it does allow for players to take on their character, they feel like they are making the choices that are making the game progress. Again, I must emphasize the brilliance of this, because Metroid and Zelda games are the most immersive for me. I really feel like I am in the game when I am playing them.

But it just wouldn't work if we were to get a movie or book about them, we would have to give them personalities and dialogue, and develop characters for them. Which in the long run could hurt the characters, so maybe they shouldn't have a book or movie made after them.
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: DarthChimay on April 17, 2008, 12:42:31 PM
I'd like to see a big ornate picture book of the Prince of Persia: Sands of Time; one with all sorts of complex, beautiful Arabian art, etc. Something that really plays up the fairy tale aspect of the first game that was so stupidly ignored for the subsequent games.

And it's interesting that you mention giving Link and Samus personalities. At GDC this year, there was a sociologist who gave a talk on what makes game characters memorable. The top three things were intriguing in-game interactions (developing relationships, having a personality, and having abilities); having a deep, rich backstory; and, paradoxically, being a blank-slate character, such as Link and Samus (who were specifically named). Players felt they could project themselves on these characters. It makes me wonder if giving a backstory to either of these characters would hurt them in some way, unlike, say Snake or Alyx Vance (who were the examples of the first two categories mentioned in the survey data).

See that observation is brilliant, it really brings out why Link and Samus are so loved, they have well developed back stories, but being the "blank-slate character" it does allow for players to take on their character, they feel like they are making the choices that are making the game progress. Again, I must emphasize the brilliance of this, because Metroid and Zelda games are the most immersive for me. I really feel like I am in the game when I am playing them.

But it just wouldn't work if we were to get a movie or book about them, we would have to give them personalities and dialogue, and develop characters for them. Which in the long run could hurt the characters, so maybe they shouldn't have a book or movie made after them.

On the other hand, characters like Guybrush Threepwood, Grim Fandango, oodles of characters from the Final Fantasy games (e.g. Cloud), and Jade (Beyond Good and Evil), just to name a few, are not blank-slate characters. Yet, they were every bit just as memorable according to the survey data.  It's interesting how both seem to work, regardless of game genre.

I've been reading the Tomb Raider books and playing the games, and I've seen an evolution in her character that makes her more compelling to me. In the survey data, she was put under the blank-slate characters, and that is true in the early Core games, but Crystal Dynamics take on her has been a lot more fleshed out (pun not intended). And I like her more for it. I never really dug the Core games, but I can't get enough of the new ones. I feel a lot more emotionally attached to her now. Anyway, my point is that both blank-slate characters and fleshed out characters can work equally well, but they can also fail equally (Master Chief was an example from the data).
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: Tyrant on April 17, 2008, 01:17:59 PM
Some Final Fantasy books would be cool (unless they already exist and I don't know about it). Especially since they might actually be able to tell me what the hell is going on in the games.

 Also, I fully endorse Fortis' desire to write a Metroid book.  ;D
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: Fortis on April 17, 2008, 01:40:32 PM
Also, I fully endorse Fortis' desire to write a Metroid book.  ;D

Thanks, I thought about making it a two parter...the first book would be about Samus growing up and joining the Galactic Army where she meets Adam Malkovich. It would have flashbacks into her childhood to explain the vendetta she has against the space pirates, and why she is such a good fighter.

The second book would be about her becoming a bounty hunter and personally hunting down the Space Pirates
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Or perhaps just make the one book that starts after her parents are killed by the Space Pirates, and then go to the point where she becomes a Bounty Hunter, than the story wouldn't hinder the games at all, and perhaps add a little more depth.

I would like to do it a lot, it would be really fun developing a fun character for Samus Aran.
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: Tyrant on April 17, 2008, 02:30:04 PM
Just as long as she kicks ass, I'm 100% behind it. I'll buy multiple copies and force people to read it.
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: Fortis on April 17, 2008, 04:27:42 PM
Just as long as she kicks ass, I'm 100% behind it. I'll buy multiple copies and force people to read it.

Sounds good, I'll get started on a plot outline...hmm wonder how I would send it to Nintendo...need to work on query letters.


And don't worry, Samus will put all other people in this book to shame in terms of awesomeness.
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: RoninFox on April 17, 2008, 04:34:32 PM
Some great ideas already on here, I to would be interested in some Zelda stories, though I do realize I love the blank-slate concept on Link.  I realized it really helps me identify with the character as I play.

Two of my favorite game series to play are Star Fox and Sly Cooper, either one of them could possibly have good translations in text or comic book forms.  I know there has been at least one Sly Cooper comic that was given away free at game stores, I have a copy somewhere, but a full series of them with actual long term story arcs would be a lot of fun.
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: Fortis on April 17, 2008, 04:59:13 PM
I think Star Fox would make a great comic book, I'm not sure how well it would do under the scrutiny of a novel though.
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: RoninFox on April 18, 2008, 04:40:06 AM
I think Star Fox would make a great comic book, I'm not sure how well it would do under the scrutiny of a novel though.

If you can get past the characters being animals I think it'd work, but yeah, comics would probably be the way to go...just hopefully they turn out better than the short comics we got stuck into Nintendo Power when the original game came out.
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: DarthChimay on April 18, 2008, 02:15:45 PM
I think Star Fox would make a great comic book, I'm not sure how well it would do under the scrutiny of a novel though.

If you can get past the characters being animals I think it'd work, but yeah, comics would probably be the way to go...just hopefully they turn out better than the short comics we got stuck into Nintendo Power when the original game came out.

I did read a Star Fox short story once and I swore I'd never read another one. I shan't repeat what the story was about, for there are delicate sensibilities here (namely me), but I will say that it was a crash course introduction to the world of furries.
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: Jinto on April 18, 2008, 03:14:31 PM
I did read a Star Fox short story once and I swore I'd never read another one. I shan't repeat what the story was about, for there are delicate sensibilities here (namely me), but I will say that it was a crash course introduction to the world of furries.

No degeneration of the thread is allowed, people. Back on topic.
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: Fortis on April 18, 2008, 03:27:34 PM
A star craft or war craft book would work...and has the potential to be freaking awesome
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: Nick on April 18, 2008, 08:28:44 PM
There are several starcraft and warcraft books out there, though I've only read one, so I can't attest to the quality of them all. There are even Diablo books, and the one I have I thought was extemely good.
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: RoninFox on April 18, 2008, 09:14:42 PM
I think Star Fox would make a great comic book, I'm not sure how well it would do under the scrutiny of a novel though.

If you can get past the characters being animals I think it'd work, but yeah, comics would probably be the way to go...just hopefully they turn out better than the short comics we got stuck into Nintendo Power when the original game came out.

I did read a Star Fox short story once and I swore I'd never read another one. I shan't repeat what the story was about, for there are delicate sensibilities here (namely me), but I will say that it was a crash course introduction to the world of furries.

To clarify, I assume we want TALENTED authors to write these books, not sad pathetic fan-boys and fan-girls writing about the kind of sex they wish was real.
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: Jinto on April 19, 2008, 09:16:37 AM
The Fallout series of games need books, too, I think. Post-apocalyptic story telling that's better than Mad Max.
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: DarthChimay on April 20, 2008, 02:43:30 AM
I think Star Fox would make a great comic book, I'm not sure how well it would do under the scrutiny of a novel though.

If you can get past the characters being animals I think it'd work, but yeah, comics would probably be the way to go...just hopefully they turn out better than the short comics we got stuck into Nintendo Power when the original game came out.

I did read a Star Fox short story once and I swore I'd never read another one. I shan't repeat what the story was about, for there are delicate sensibilities here (namely me), but I will say that it was a crash course introduction to the world of furries.

To clarify, I assume we want TALENTED authors to write these books, not sad pathetic fan-boys and fan-girls writing about the kind of sex they wish was real.

Well, there goes my book. So much for The Erotic Adventures of Dig Dug. Ah well...
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: Pak-Man on April 23, 2008, 10:02:29 AM
I wouldn't mind curling up with a series of books based on Phoenix Wright.

Of course, they're ALMOST books already. But anything for more Phoenix Wright! :^)
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: zoom on April 23, 2008, 11:32:35 AM
Books that should never be:
Half-life Diaries.  Accounts of the Black Mesa incident told by Gordon Freeman.  TOLD by Gordon Freeman.  Page count: 2
Spider-man 3 the movie, the game, the novelization.  Now with even more random unrelated plot points spliced in.
Mass Effect plot your own course/role playing book.  Do you want to try and find a diplomatic means of ending this conversation or just blow their head off?  See page Paragon 665 or page Renegade 1435.  The Paragon pages would be blue and the Renegade would be red.. cause you know, bad guys always are red.
Rock Band strategy guide... Wait.. there's actually one of those...


Pardon my attempt a humor.  Now for the real suggestions:
Paper Mario pop up book.  Really, stop laughing.  I think it could be a cute book for kids.
A Zelda book of some type like others have suggested.
I'd also like to see a Doom comic book.  I think there's been some books on Doom, but the hellish demons just scream to be seen.
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: DarthChimay on April 23, 2008, 10:12:31 PM
Strikes me that Fallout would probably be a fun book.

Not as much fun as Pong!
Title: Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
Post by: Jinto on April 24, 2008, 03:26:02 PM
Ooh, anyone else remember those Atari comics produced by DC?

Atari Force
Centipede
Sword Quest
Yars Revenge


Terrible stuff.