Video Games and Writers

By Nicholas Klacsanzky

Hi everyone.

Do you like playing video games? I do. I know that many people consider playing games a waste of time, and I strongly agree–games can consume a lot of it; however, I disagree that games can give nothing in return. Games stimulate imagination and allow you to test multiple behavioral patterns, characters, and even lifestyles in a safe, digital environment. To me, a video game is an interactive book, when you are the author and the character of the story at the same time.

Speaking of being an author of a story, there are games both about writers, and inspired by writers. A rather old Sega Mega Drive game “Comix Zone” was, as I remember, one of the first games that placed a writer in the center of a story–the game features a comic book author trapped in his own story. The simple “beat-em up” gameplay, however, was rather boring.

The next game about writers that I played was “Scratches”–an adventure game, in which you needed to reveal the secrets of an old Victorian manor. The main character–Michael Arthate, a promising writer–purchased an old mansion, fulfilling his old dream; besides, Michael needed seclusion to finish his new book. What he discovered in the mansion, however, intrigued him–a dark gruesome mystery, still echoing in the manor’s walls as scratches.

“Alan Wake” is probably one of the most well-known games with a writer as the main character. It is a horror story about an author who arrives with his wife in a small town, and discovers it is haunted by an evil creature, lurking in the dark. Soon Alan figures out that the events unfolding in town repeat the plot of a novel that he wrote and forgot a long time ago….

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be too many games about writers; besides, for some reason, a lot of games dedicated to writers are representing the thriller or horror genre. The situation is a bit different with games inspired by writers and their creations.

For example, the recent bestseller “Witcher 3” is the final part of a video game trilogy, fully based on the series of novels by Andrzej Sapkowski (in my opinion, the game is even better than some of the original novels). Below is a short list of video games based on novels and stories of famous (and not really famous) writers; I bet many of them are familiar to you:

  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (and many other games of different genres, united by J.R.R. Tolkien’s universe).
  • Harry Potter series.
  • Metro 2033.
  • Cthulhu: The Dark Corners of Earth.
  • Neuromancer.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
  • Alice.
  • Dune (including “Dune II” and “Emperor: Battle for Dune”).
  • BioShock (to some extent based on Ayn Rand’s philosophical works).
  • American McGee’s Alice.
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six.

And many more. Though many fiction stories have inspired video game creators, video games inspire writers as well. I hope you become one of them.

Good luck.

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