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Game Books

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message 1: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Cranley | 20 comments Have you read any books that have been based in or on a game world.

I own and have read The Stolen Throne it is an interesting book, and a good read as it were (ignore the pun).

I am wondering if many others have read any other game based books, mass effect, warcraft, starcraft, any others.

Also do you think that these books are good for a S&L pick, they are generally short, not part of a series, and entertaining to read.


From your friendly crazy Australian

message 2: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6362 comments There's a thousand Warhammer 4K books. Of course now they have vampires too.

message 3: by Matty Van (new)

Matty Van (mattyvan) | 55 comments mass effect has a plot that would lend it self really well to a book, has anyone read it?

message 4: by Steve (new)

Steve | 34 comments I've never read any franchise books and, to be honest, have been a little snobby about them. I've assumed they would be about as good as your average movie based on a video game (i.e. not good at all). But I was looking at the wall full of them the other day at the bookstore and thought "There must be something good on that wall."

So I'm curious about these as well. Are there good ones out there?

message 5: by Jarrod (new)

Jarrod I am the self proclaimed King of the Tie in Novel.

And like most series... Some are Good.. and Some are bad.

Game tie-in novels tend to be like their TV tie in Counterparts. It helps if you are somewhat familiar with the characters and the land.. but not really.

The Warcraft Books are rich with the lore, scenes, and characters of the game; while the Forgotten Realms series can be read pretty much as a Stand Alone.

message 6: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Cranley | 20 comments The Dragon Age books are a good read, The Stolen Throne by David Gaider is very entertaining and as Jarrod has said helps you somewhat familiarize your self with characters and the world.

The beauty with these books is that they are written by the lead writer of the game itself, although I have not read too many other tie-in books. Are many of them almost like fan fiction? or are they written by writers that have a connection with the game?

message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

I read the Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal some time ago. As it's my all time favourite game series I wanted to try the books.

I have to admit, I spent the entire novel thinking, my game character did not do it that way!

Other than that, they weren't so bad I guess. I did not throw them across the room in disgust and I did finish them. Although, like the game, they would need a serious update to interest people today. The felt a little different to the other Forgotten Realms books too, I'm not sure if it was the writing or the fact that I'd played the game and had a certain amount of involvement in the plot.

message 8: by Tom (last edited Jun 26, 2010 10:19AM) (new)

Tom (fermionace) | 39 comments I'm reading a BattleTech book right now. Battletech 37: Warrior en Garde. I'm enjoying it so far. It's my first game novel.

message 9: by Brad Theado (last edited Jun 26, 2010 10:51AM) (new)

Brad Theado | 217 comments Anything by RA Salvatore is worth reading. This book is the first in a great fantasy series.The Crystal Shard

If you want something in the laser field, I really enjoyed The Lost. Its in the Warcraft 40k series.

message 10: by Ben (new)

Ben | 116 comments I read some of the Dragonlance books and some of the R.A. Salvatore Forgotten Realms books sometime in the 1990s.

message 11: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Cranley | 20 comments Anyone with thoughts if they think that one of these would be a good choice of a book for the podcast?

message 12: by Jen (new)

Jen | 225 comments Adding my love for R.A. Salvatore as well. It's been awhile since I read his books, but I remember being completely sucked into them.

message 13: by Ben (new)

Ben | 116 comments Count me against R.A. Salvatore books. I found the ones I read to be generally mediocre.

message 14: by Cameron (new)

Cameron (cm_cameron) | 50 comments Matty Van wrote: "mass effect has a plot that would lend it self really well to a book, has anyone read it?"

I've read both of them.

Mass Effect: Revelation is pretty average, but still fun. It doesn't really add anything to the universe that someone who's played Mass Effect 1 wouldn't already know though.

Mass Effect: Ascension, on the other hand, is pretty good. It's got a better cast of characters and some really good action scenes. It goes into detail on The Illusive Man, the Quarians, and the Collectors, but again, it's nothing that anyone who's played Mass Effect 2 wouldn't already know.

Both books are fun, but neither book is really anything but a quick distraction. The story and characters in both games are much better than the books. Can't really recommend them as picks for The S&L, but anyone who's enjoyed the games might like them. Looking forward to Retribution, which is coming out next month I believe.

message 15: by Bongo (new)

Bongo | 6 comments I enjoyed both of the Mass Effect books. It really helped to flesh out the universe for me. They're quick, easy, fun reads.

message 16: by Danforth (new)

Danforth (nomad_scry) | 35 comments The Longing Ring, from the Earthdawn setting, is a horribly bizarre fantasy story about a boy and his demon. Sort of.

Pages of Pain, from D&D's Planescape setting, is also a horribly bizarre fantasy story. An amnesiac gets sent by a god to the Lady of Pain to recover his memory. She casts him into a maze. It gets darker and more insane from there.

Heir to the Empire, from Star Wars, is excellent. Period. In my opinion, the expanded universe exists because of Zahn's work in this trilogy.

The Dragonlance Chronicles/Dragons of Autumn Twilight/Dragons of Winter Night/Dragons of Spring Dawning, from... er... I don't know if the D&D setting of Dragonlance is based on these novels or if the novels are based on the setting. I never cared much for the setting because the books were too good and left no room for my imagination to play. (Pathetic excuse, I know.)

message 17: by Brent (last edited Jun 30, 2010 06:55AM) (new)

Brent Quigley (mrquiggles) | 6 comments I believe I've mentioned my fondness for the The Myst Series on the Ning Forum That Was. It's one of my favorite series, game-derived or otherwise.

message 18: by Cory (new)

Cory (corym) | 1 comments Has anyone read The Elder Scrolls: The Infernal City ? I love the games and I'm thinking about trying the book.

message 19: by Tom (new)

Tom Hansen (scarhoof) I've read a lot of the World of Warcraft books. Being that it's such an immersive world with a long history the books can add to the richness in-game if you're one of those nerds like me.

message 20: by Jon (new)

Jon (archleon) Well I guess this counts now that the role playing books are out now by the folks at the Evil Hat. But there is the Dresdin Files book series by Jim Butcherand I've been a big fan of those. I would recommend starting off with book 3 Grave Perilthat's when the series starts getting addicting.

message 21: by Skip (new)

Skip | 517 comments Well there are book series that started games, like “The Dresden Files” and “The Wheel of Time”; and there are book series that also have games out like the “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” expanded universe books that come from TV or movies; but I think the question was about games that have spawned book series.

I’d second the recommendation for Battletech 37: Warrior en Garde, or anything else by Michael Stackpole. He also authored Shadowrun 32: Wolf and Raven loosely based on the Shadowrun universe, and did the Rouge Squadron books for the Star Wars expanded universe. With most of these types of series, the author matters as much as the game and books in the same series can vary widely in tone and quality.

As an aside, the best read I ever got from an RPG rulebook was Virtual Realities: A Shadowrun Sourcebook. For those of you that never read a Shadowrun sourcebook, they were typically presented as a digital download of related information with comments made by the readers of the information. The story in this book really captured me; it is still the only rulebook I’ve ever read cover to cover.

Tom Dowd also co-wrote the “adventure” Harlequin. Anyone that ever played or ran Harlequin will know why the quotes are there. All I’ll say is that it changed the way I looked at every adventure I ever played since.

message 22: by P. Aaron (last edited Jul 26, 2010 01:31PM) (new)

P. Aaron Potter (paaronpotter) | 585 comments In addition to the Baldur's Gate books mentioned above, there was a novelization of Pool of Radiance which was a tie-in. Would any of the R.A. Salvatore books count, since WotC's "Forgotten Realms" setting is key to several published games, both video games and pen-and-paper?
The best of the non-tie-ins would have to be the
Dream Park books by Niven and Barnes. Though, naturally, I have a personal bias towards the more recent Massively Multiplayer. :)

edit: whoah, my bad! Dream Park was Niven & Barnes, not Niven and Pournelle. Boy, is Niven the collaboration king of SciFi? Food for another thread...

message 24: by P. Aaron (last edited Jul 28, 2010 12:45PM) (new)

P. Aaron Potter (paaronpotter) | 585 comments Another just came into view: MetaGame by Sam Landstrom. The Amazon reviews are overhwelmingly positive, and this looks like it's both deep and fun. I'll definitely be reviewing it.

edit: on further review, looks like this book is less about 'gaming' in the way we think of it, and more about post-apocalyptic Mad-Maxesque survivalism, with an electronic overlay. I don't know about you, but I game to get away from such grimness.

message 25: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments There is a game where the tie-in novels are more popular than the game itself. It was an old table-top turn-based strategy game called Harpoon. (And if you try to imagine playing a turned-based strategy game D&D style, you'll understand why it never took off.) A couple guys in Maryland came up with one really awesome campaign involving a Soviet missile sub trying to defect to the US, and they decided it was so cool one of them should turn it into a novel.

Later they came up with another campaign involving a full scale but non-nuclear war in Europe. This time they wrote the book together, though only one of them got credit on the cover.

message 26: by TRP (last edited Jul 28, 2010 04:03AM) (new)

TRP Watson (trpw) | 213 comments The last Nanowrimo ( book I wrote was about a woman discovering that a world that is supposed to be terraformed is actually being used as a Warcraft-like MMORPG or rather a MM-IRL-RPG.
I might have to dust it off.

message 27: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6362 comments The dan abnett warhammer 4k are supposed to be good, but I haven't read them.

message 28: by Paul (new)

Paul (paulcavanaugh) | 51 comments I read one of the Halo books. Mistake. First time I ever permanently deleted a book from my history of purchases for the kindle on Amazon. I think it was the original Halo:Reach. (I won't give a link.)

What was flabbergasting to me was the many positive reviews on Amazon. Those folks need to join S&L and see what some good books are like.

The author had sailors addressing the Master Chief as "sir." A non-com called sir?????? He should have responded, "Don't call me 'sir'. I work for a living." Similarly for marines and soldiers. That response is itself a cliche, a trope, a way of life. AAArrrggghhh!

Of course, the complete lack of character development affected my displeasure, too.

message 29: by Noel (new)

Noel Baker | 364 comments Paul wrote: "I read one of the Halo books. Mistake. First time I ever permanently deleted a book from my history of purchases for the kindle on Amazon. I think it was the original Halo:Reach. (I won't give a li..."

Depends what army you are talking about. In the army I served in senior non coms of sergeant major rank were called 'sir' by junior ranks therefore Master Chief would have been called 'sir' in my army. Whatother reasons did you have for disliking it so much?

message 30: by Jeremiah (new)

Jeremiah Mccoy (jeremiahtechnoirmccoy) | 80 comments I have read a lot of game tie in novels for table RPG's like D&D. It is sad to say most of them have been pretty bad, but there are some exceptions.

The Secrets of Power trilogy for Shadowrun, were old favorites for me. The Shadowrun universe is pretty rich and makes for good story potential.

The X-Wing game for the PC sort of spawned a series of star wars novels focusing in on Rogue Squadron and Wedge Antilles. They are really good examples of solid adventure fiction.

The Mass Effect novels were better than I would have expected, but not great literature.

The Timothy Zhan Thrawn Novels are also well worth a read. I would not call them a game tie in except for a while there, when ever Lucasfilm would authorize a new writer they would send a box of books for the the Star Wars Role Playing game to use as canon material.

message 31: by Paul (new)

Paul (paulcavanaugh) | 51 comments Paul wrote: "I read one of the Halo books. Mistake. First time I ever permanently deleted a book from my history of purchases for the kindle on Amazon. I think it was the original Halo:Reach. (I won't give a li..."
Hey, Noel. I thought the characters were wooden. Especially the main character. A lot of telling rather than showing emotional reactions to events. Plot-wise--not so bad. Action--not too bad. But after reading some of the books in this group (I'm thinking of Oryx and Crake and The Windup Girl, and others--The Name of the Wind, e.g.) it was so cardboard. Heck, what a great story line; it could have ben very involving.

Point taken on other armed forces. I'll be charitable in that case...

message 32: by Kirk (last edited Jul 30, 2010 03:26PM) (new)

Kirk Benson | 4 comments I've read one series by Richard Knack called "War of the Ancients Trilogy", its based on World of Warcraft lore. I do play the game as well so I may be somewhat biased but I really enjoyed the books.

message 33: by Noel (new)

Noel Baker | 364 comments Paul wrote: "Paul wrote: "I read one of the Halo books. Mistake. First time I ever permanently deleted a book from my history of purchases for the kindle on Amazon. I think it was the original Halo:Reach. (I wo..."

Thanks Paul, I enjoyed the Halo plot in the games so was wondering what the books were like. I'm with you on 'The Name of the Wind', what a superb book that is.

message 34: by Ernest (new)

Ernest | 2 comments Noel wrote: "Paul wrote: "Paul wrote: "I read one of the Halo books. Mistake. First time I ever permanently deleted a book from my history of purchases for the kindle on Amazon. I think it was the original Halo..."

Well, I will take a more moderate view on the quality of the Halo novels. They are certainly not of high quality, and agree that the characters are pretty wooden and lack depth. But as someone who liked the game and wanted to find out more about the universe and Master Chief's backstory, I would say that they are actually pretty enjoyable, as long as you don't have 'Hugo'-level of expectations. :) Reading the Halo novels certainly helped me to enjoy the universe much more.

message 35: by Paul (new)

Paul (paulcavanaugh) | 51 comments I actually agree with Ernest -- I figure I have read thousands of books that not only will never be nominated for a Hugo, but are used as examples of how not to write. And I've enjoyed many of them. Popcorn movies, and popcorn books, can be fun. Sure. And the facts of the Halo backstory were interesting. But, as I calculate I have less and less time to read more and more books, I wish John Scalzi had taken a crack at that Halo game universe.

Now, if I can just survive the next section, jump down from the balcony as the Covenant attacks the station...

message 36: by Beth (new)

Beth (petersonb12) | 40 comments I read the Perfect Dark tie-in book Perfect Dark: Initial Vector by Greg Rucka. Never played the game (or heard of it) but really like Greg Rucka. It was good. I picked up the second one, too, but haven't read it yet.

message 37: by Mark (new)

Mark Roy (nkyguy) | 4 comments There are a couple of writers of Warhammer 40K novels that I love to read, the first is Dan Abnett, especially his novels about the Imperial Guard division the Tanith First & Only, better known as Gaunt's Ghosts. The second is Sandy Mitchell who's best known for writing books about Commissar Ciaphas Cain, who is similar to the main character of the old Flashman series of stories.

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