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21-04-2012, 04:24 PM #1
- Join Date
- Mar 2012
Gaming and Literature: Bleedover you have noticed
So recently, I finished reading "Broken Blade" by Kelly McCullough. Not as good as his Webmage/Ravirn series, but good nonetheless. And it gets better as you go, too. But I noticed something in his writing which I also noticed recently in the writing of Scott Lynch (The Lies of Locke Lamora): There seems to be a good deal of inspiration taken from gaming in these books, or vice versa.
Now, I am not claiming infringement/plagiarism, mind you. Just inspiration, and that's fine. The Blade in McCullough's most recent has a Shade familiar (named Triss) is a hard-drinking former Assassin who worked for the goddess Namara until the Son of Heaven destroyed her, and now is living on the run from pretty well everyone. His name is Aral Kingslayer. Some of the lore seems very Witcher/Oblivion/gaming inspired. That's not a bad thing, mind you and its not gross or so much as to ruin the tale. Just...noticeable.
Scott Lynch's city of Camorr (Lies of Locke Lamorra) seems almost identical to the Imperial City from Oblivion. (Not the city in the game, but the archipelago detailed in lore, which I am sad we didn't get to see.) Similarities include the towers made of unknown material, left by a magical ancient race (common across fantasy tales, granted) and the archipelago structure itself.
So this left me wondering: Has anyone else spotted allusions to or inspiration from video games in literature or movies? just curious.
22-04-2012, 02:18 AM #2
Modern action movies are looking more and more like video games, and visa versa. But I haven't noticed any specific examples in terms of plot items.
I'd say most of those elements are more like standard fantasy elements though. These days there are so many fantasy works across all mediums that it's become inevitable that you encounter these same elements again and again.
It's probably a sign of getting old, but i'm having a harder and harder time enjoying fantasy these days... as it all tends to feel familiar and recycled.
(I haven't played it, but the first dragon age's trailers made it look like 50% Wheel of Time + 50% Ice and Fire. - both of which i think have castles/towers made of unknown material ;-) )
22-04-2012, 08:01 AM #3
Dragonlance serries is an obvious example of books inspired by pen&paper RPG sessions. I think it says so in the foreword.
I'm extremely wary of books inspired by computer games. In 99% of cases they were meant as merchandise, not a good story. A book should be able to get fans outside of gamer circles, (on its own merits rather than nostalgia) and if it doesn't it's probably a poor one.
Last edited by b0rsuk; 22-04-2012 at 08:03 AM.
22-04-2012, 10:41 AM #4
Well Dragon Age aped Game of Thrones plenty, with elements like Grey Wardens=the Night's Watch, the dwarven politics and more stuff I can't recall at the moment.
22-04-2012, 11:03 AM #5
Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon features main characters who are very familiar with roleplaying games and a Magic-style card game, as well as with Tolkien. One of these characters develops an early computer RPG, which is part of the background to the events in the book.
Terry Pratchett's Only You Can Save Mankind centres on a computer game, and is a powerful evocation of the gaming scene among school kids in the '80s / early '90s in the UK, among other things. Brilliant book. Some other Pratchett books have passing references to games.
Not re. video gaming, but Elizabeth Moon's Deed of Paksenarrion trilogy was inspired by paladins in D&D-style games, but the author felt that paladins had been misunderstood by D&D and wanted to put that right. (See Wikipedia.) The way she sort of has the character level up early in the series kind of grated on me, but the books aren't bad.
22-04-2012, 01:57 PM #6
Alpha Centauri ripped off everything. Ev-er-y-thing.
22-04-2012, 04:24 PM #7
22-04-2012, 06:41 PM #8
Haven't read Reamde yet - is it good?
I came to Cryptonomicon from the Baroque Cycle, the kind-of prequels to it. Think I preferred those, but I enjoyed all of them.
22-04-2012, 06:59 PM #9
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- Mar 2012
Dunwall = New Crobuzon
22-04-2012, 07:21 PM #10
Hell, he's one of the few guys who can spend a chapter on a tangent and make you want to know more about, say, the creation of phosphorus just because he's interested in it. Sorta like a discussion with Neal Degrasse Tyson that goes on for a week. Go get it.
22-04-2012, 08:15 PM #11
22-04-2012, 11:37 PM #12
Holy balls, I could totally imagine a Battlefield 3 book.
"And then he shot some guys, and then some guys popped out of the building on the left, and he shot them too. After, he walked into a wall because he wasn't paying attention."
23-04-2012, 12:00 AM #13
23-04-2012, 02:47 PM #14
Agreed on the Stephenson novels; he takes fine inspiration from the gaming world.
Cory Doctorow did an interesting take on MMO economics (and Asia, and girl gamers, etc.) in For the Win. It's free as an e-book, so no reason not to try it.
A less succesful but still sort of interesting example is Salman Rushdie's Luka and the Fire of Life. It's in the 'let's tell a mythological/fairytale story with references to video game mechanics because that's how kids think these days' category, but not altogether without merit.
23-04-2012, 03:54 PM #15
23-04-2012, 05:34 PM #16
- Join Date
- Nov 2011
A bit of a twist on what you outline above is that Terry Pratchett's book Snuff is based on an oblivion mod that someone made for him where you could talk to the goblins. He said he was incredibly excited about Skyrim, which was just coming out when I bought the book/saw him speak at Drury Lane.
24-04-2012, 12:07 AM #17
@Theblazeuk - That's neat, I didn't know. Thanks!
24-04-2012, 03:13 AM #18
Video games have been around long enough now that they're starting to creep into proper novels, not just hack fantasy, but in most cases where a novel seems to have a similar setting to a game it's probably the game ripping off the novel, or both taking "inspiration" from the same set of older novels.