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Author Topic: Video Games that need to be a book?  (Read 4962 times)

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Offline Jinto

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Video Games that need to be a book?
« 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 ) 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".
« Last Edit: April 19, 2008, 09:17:16 AM by Jinto »


Offline doggans

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Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
« Reply #1 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.


Offline skenderberg

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Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
« Reply #2 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.
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Offline BBQ Platypus

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Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
« Reply #3 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.
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Offline Fortis

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Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
« Reply #4 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...


Offline Jinto

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Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
« Reply #5 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?


Offline RobtheBarbarian

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Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
« Reply #6 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...
« Last Edit: April 16, 2008, 08:46:33 PM by RobtheBarbarian »


Offline Jinto

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Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
« Reply #7 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.


Offline mrbasehart

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Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2008, 05:29:11 AM »
I think a Monkey Island book would be pretty entertaining. 


Offline Jinto

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Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
« Reply #9 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.


Offline Fortis

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Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
« Reply #10 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.



Offline DarthChimay

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Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
« Reply #11 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).


Offline Fortis

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Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
« Reply #12 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.


Offline DarthChimay

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Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
« Reply #13 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).


Offline Tyrant

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Re: Video Games that need to be a book?
« Reply #14 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