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Video Game Based Novels

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message 1: by Matthew (new)

Matthew (masupert) | 207 comments Just throwing this out there for discussion. I am curious who out there has gotten into any novels based on video games. We are all nerds her for the most part so is it safe to assume a good junk of us are gamers as well.

I have read a couple of the Halo novels, and while they aren't Hugo award nominees they are a fun read. Anyone else get into any of these?


message 2: by Cameron (new)

Cameron Harris (Fallensaver) | 6 comments I have read quite a few video game novels. I am actually picking up the Bioshock novel soon.

1.The Mass Effect novels
a. Revelation-interesting prequel
B. Ascension-goes deeper into the Migrant Fleet and Biotics
3. Retribution-Reaper Tech (Best of the three)

2.Dragon Age
a.The Stolen Throne-Horrible Book

3.Runescape
a.Betrayal at Falador- a fun read for those who have played the game

4.Metal Gear Solid
Sons of Liberty-I thought it was just as good as the actual game

Overall, video games novels have yet to blow my mind but they can add quite a bit of depth to the games universe.


message 3: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (SeanOHara) | 2250 comments Miyuki Miyabe's adaptation of ICO: Castle of the Mist is getting its English release in a couple weeks.

The Japanese actually have an entire genre of video game known as "visual novels," which are essentially computerized choose-your-own-adventure books -- you just sit at your computer reading text until you get to a point where you can make a decision. Supposedly they're quite complex and as good as a regular novel -- Clannad for example started as a VN.


message 4: by Cameron (new)

Cameron Harris (Fallensaver) | 6 comments I love visual novel games
1.Hotel Dusk
2.Phoenix Wright
3.9 hours,9 Persons,9 Doors


message 5: by Paul (new)

Paul  Perry (Pezski) | 417 comments I do have the Resident Evil books on my TBR shelf (the first four anyway - I'm sure there're more) as i picked them up for £2 the lot. I keep meaning to jump in but think i may regret it...


message 6: by Tero (new)

Tero (terohanninen) | 24 comments EVE Online has inspired two novels so far, EVE: The Empyrean Age and Eve: The Burning Life. They're not exactly sci-fi masterworks, but quite OK if you're into the EVE Online universe.


message 7: by Brian (last edited Aug 06, 2011 10:34AM) (new)

Brian | 67 comments The Halo books are good. Very good audiobooks.

Halo, Books 1-3

The Dark Elf Trilogy books are very good. (There have been video games based on D & D, but it is more of a board game)

The Dark Elf Trilogy Gift Set


There are some good books based on Mechwarrior (Battletech)

Classic BattleTech: The Legend of the Jade Phoenix Trilogy


message 8: by Colin (new)

Colin | 278 comments I haven't read them, but i am interesting in looking at The Last Wish and Blood of Elves since the games are apparently very good. I am not sure of the publishing timeline, but i think this might be a case of the video game based on the books. Regardless, i still want to read them.


message 9: by Leah (new)

Leah | 20 comments I've been looking at the books for both Mass Effect and Assassin's Creed.

and I was also looking at the same ones that Colin mentioned but I haven't played the game.


message 10: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Xu (kxu65) | 1081 comments I did not know that they had the Halo books on audio.


message 11: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 5068 comments A lot of reputable authors are doing game books now. John Shirley just did a Bioshock: BioShock: Rapture


message 12: by Gord (new)

Gord McLeod (mcleodg) | 347 comments The Halo books were good, as are the Mass Effect books. Haven't tried Dragon Age yet.

Going back a ways, there was at least one Starcraft book that took place during the events of the first game but which was parallel to it and intertwined a bit with events from the game instead of trying to tell the story in another medium. It worked quite well.

There's also a series of Resident Evil novels that try to stay very strictly to the events of the games, up to and including the discovery of typewriter ribbons (the in-game representation of save game points.) They... don't work quite so well.


message 13: by Mike (new)

Mike Rentas (mikerentas) | 65 comments I picked up the most recent World of Warcraft book after hearing it was very good on a number of podcasts. I have since stopped listening to World of Warcraft podcasts. Total trash.


message 14: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (AndrewCa) | 1963 comments Paul 'Pezter' wrote: "I do have the Resident Evil books on my TBR shelf (the first four anyway - I'm sure there're more) as i picked them up for £2 the lot. I keep meaning to jump in but think i may regret it..."

There are 7 in all. Numbered 1-6 + book 0, which is a sort of prequel. I read all of them in the last year and rated most of them 3 stars. Some of them are better than others but they are quick reads.
I believe there are also book versions of the movies.


message 15: by Gord (new)

Gord McLeod (mcleodg) | 347 comments Andrew wrote: "There are 7 in all. Numbered 1-6 + book 0, which is a sort of prequel. I read all of them in the last year and rated most of them 3 stars. Some of them are better than others but they are quick reads.
I believe there are also book versions of the movies."


There are a couple in the series that are original stories, not based on games or movies. Those ones are okayish. The adaptations (at least of the games) are way too true to the games to make good books.


message 16: by Nevan (new)

Nevan | 143 comments I've considered reading the Warcraft novels, but I can never seem to justify picking one up instead of something with a little higher reputation.

I expect that it'll be an interesting experience to read about different places in Azeroth, and know that I, myself, have 'been' there.


message 17: by Ryan (new)

Ryan (datarez) | 7 comments I've read a few video game books. Some are just filler to actually make the games make sense, others are pretty good by themselves.

Mass Effect: Ok by themselves but better if you're into the game.
Warcraft: All over the place depending on the writer. I'm not a fan of the Knaak books but I've read them.
Gears of War: I really like these. It's hard for me to figure out why I like it so much. I'm not sure if it's the books that are really good or if it's that I like the gears world.
Halo: They're ok to read while playing the game.
Dragon Age: I didn't really like the first one that much. I didn't get all the way through it but I really liked Dragon Age Origins.


message 18: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (AndrewCa) | 1963 comments Going back quite a bit, but does anyone remember The Dark Wheel by Robert Holdstock. It came with the space trading game 'Elite' back in the 80's. Given it's age it's probably one of, if not the first, video game book/novella.


message 19: by Paul (new)

Paul  Perry (Pezski) | 417 comments Sean wrote: "I'm fond of the Warhammer 40K novels, especially the ones written by Dan Abnett."

i'd forgotten those; i've got the three omnibus collections of his Gaunt's Ghosts books on my shelves, picked them up cheap recently.


message 20: by Been (new)

Been | 125 comments I've read quite a few books based on video games, but nothing too recent. Lesse...

First one was Golden axe: A novel based on the best-selling Sega Mega Drive game, which as the title says was a retelling of the game in novel form. I don't remember it being too bad, but I was maybe 12 at the time I read it, so my opinion was probably slightly biased.

Next came a series of Sonic novels Sonic the Hedgehog in Robotnik's Laboratory which I still to this day say were absolutely wonderful. I loved every one of them and was so annoyed that they never continued the series. It was more or less what you'd imagine them to be, stories starring Sonic and Tails fighting against Robotnik and his most recent evil plot. The 3rd story takes place almost entirely inside a computer system and I loved all the little nods and references to videos games and computer culture that cropped up throughout.

At one point I picked up a Starcraft novel, Shadow of the Xel'Naga to be specific. The plot in a nutshell is someone stumbles across an ancient artefact in the ass-end of nowhere, everyone rushes to be the first one to claim it and a miniture war ensues. Nothing too special, and it was kinda dull throughout. I'll just say now that I've never particularly enjoyed Kevin J Anderson's work, but due to the pseudonym I didn't know it was him until many years later. It was pretty disappointing, as if someone had a list of the different things you get in Starcraft and tried to fit as many of them into a book as possible. Also, the Zerg had never encountered a dog before the events in this book? Seriously?

Lastly was one I was given as a gift by my brother who got it for free and knew I kinda liked Diablo, Legacy of Blood. After Starcraft I was somewhat hesitant but holy cow was this book great. It covered areas untouched by the games and only hinted at during the lore including in the manuals and other lore. It followed the story of a group of adventurers stumbling across the tomb of Bartuc the Bloody, the warlord of Blood, heavily featured in the Lore of the game series, although not so much in the games themselves. While fighting against the horrors inhabiting the tomb Bartuc's spirit wrests control of one of the adventurer's bodies and uses it to try and return to power. It was surprisingly good and had me hooked until the very end. I keep meaning to check out Richard A. Knaak's other work considering he did such a good job with this.

As for more recent video games, I've yet to read anything based on a series in the past 10 years or so. As a whole I found I got enough story from most of the games that I was never too fussed about trying to get more out of it. That and it often irked me when characters I grew to love behaved completely different due to the other writers bringing their own take to them.


message 21: by Peter (new)

Peter | 142 comments Mike wrote: "I picked up the most recent World of Warcraft book after hearing it was very good on a number of podcasts. I have since stopped listening to World of Warcraft podcasts. Total trash."

I would not expect any World of Warcraft books to be shining examples of littary gold, but Christine Golden is a fairly decent writer, The Shattering
The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysmwas a decent read. She's the better of the two authors they hire.

They should do a better job integrating the books storyline in with the video game story lines than they have though, as Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects takes place before and during patch 4.2


message 22: by Mike (new)

Mike Rentas (mikerentas) | 65 comments Peter wrote: "Mike wrote: "I would not expect any World of Warcraft books to be shining examples of littary gold, but Christine Golden is a fairly decent writer, The Shattering was a decent read. ..."

I'm not one to criticize others' taste in literature (I genuinely enjoyed the Twilight series, FWIW), but *really*?? That's exactly the book I'm talking about, and I find it shudder-inducingly unreadable. Her writing style is stiff and empty, her dialogue is ridiculous, all the characters she uses are major lore figures and none of them act anything like leaders of nations should or would... I've been trying to make it to the end for months, and I just can't do it. And again, this is coming from someone who read and enjoyed all four Twilight books, idiotic, super-forced classic literature parallels and all. I can enjoy writers of questionable talent if there's something there to grab onto - story, characters, world, whatever - but...

In other news, I just tracked down the first game book I ever read, back in 3rd grade or so: http://castlevaniadungeon.net/feature... - I remember it being excellent, but thinking back on it it was basically self-insertion fanfic. It'd be interesting to read it again. Here's some info on the series it was part of ("Worlds of Power") - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worlds_o...


message 23: by Peter (new)

Peter | 142 comments The majority of it is Blizzard and probably Metzen's fault for the actual story line, while Golden just fleshes it out. I tend to gloss over the dialogue and just go with the story.


message 24: by Mike (new)

Mike Rentas (mikerentas) | 65 comments That may be the problem - I was already familiar with the lore, so I was reading for the details, which were delivered... let's say without much flare.

It may also be related to my overall WoW fatigue, although I bought the book when I was in full-on "Hooray Cataclysm!" mode.

Oh well, I'm glad some people enjoy it, at least :)


message 25: by aldenoneil (new)

aldenoneil | 1000 comments Mike wrote: "In other news, I just tracked down the first game book I ever read, back in 3rd grade or so:"

Big fan of Worlds of Power as a youth, but my God that snippet was awful. I think I should promise myself now to never go back and re-read those - I'd rather preserve the magic.


message 26: by Jlawrence, S&L Forum Mod (new)

Jlawrence | 907 comments Mod
I've mentioned it somewhere else on this forum before, but Lucky Wander Boy is a fun and funny book about one man who becomes obsessed with the video games of his youth, trying to write a "Catalogue of Obsolete Entertainments." The chapters are interspersed with snippets from that work-in-progress Catalogue, essays on actual 80's and early 90's games, but his over-the-top obsession becomes the fictional game of the book's title, an exceptionally rare and bizarre stand-up arcade game, which, through its experimental technology and surreal gameplay, almost gave him a mystical experience as a kid. He goes on a quixotic quest of sorts to track it down.

Also, the book's author, D.B. Weiss, is one of the co-writers of the HBO Game of Thrones series.


message 27: by Jlawrence, S&L Forum Mod (last edited Aug 09, 2011 10:47AM) (new)

Jlawrence | 907 comments Mod
aldenoneil wrote: "Mike wrote: "In other news, I just tracked down the first game book I ever read, back in 3rd grade or so:"

Big fan of Worlds of Power as a youth, but my God that snippet was awful. I think I should promise myself now to never go back and re-read those - I'd rather preserve the magic."


Off the video-game-book subject, but I had this kind of experience when I tried to re-read Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising. It made such a huge, magical impact on me as a kid, but I couldn't find any of that when I tried to go back to it, so I put it down to preserve some of my glowing memory of it. I keep being tempted, though, to re-read it fully...


message 28: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (SeanOHara) | 2250 comments Mike wrote: "Peter wrote: "Mike wrote: "I would not expect any World of Warcraft books to be shining examples of littary gold, but Christine Golden is a fairly decent writer, The Shattering was a decent read.

"I'm not one to criticize others' taste in literature (I genuinely enjoyed the Twilight series, FWIW), but *really*?? That's exactly the book I'm talking about, and I find it shudder-inducingly unreadable. Her writing style is stiff and empty, her dialogue is ridiculous, all the characters she uses are major lore figures and none of them act anything like leaders of nations should or would... I've been trying to make it to the end for months, and I just can't do it.""


Yeah, Golden has a rep in Trek fandom for writing Voyager novels that are worse than any episode of the series. On TV Tropes, this would be listed under "Beyond the Impossible."


message 29: by Otto (new)

Otto | 24 comments Brian wrote: "The Halo books are good. Very good audiobooks.

Halo, Books 1-3


I would concur. The first book - The Fall of Reach is easily the best. In addition to the audiobook, the Sci-Fi book club produced a hardback version (very rare for a game tie-in), and Marvel is part way through a graphic novel adaptation as well. The prequel book stands on its own as an epic sci-fi adventure even if you never played any of the games.


message 30: by Nick (last edited Aug 11, 2011 10:09AM) (new)

Nick (Whyzen) | 1290 comments Sean wrote: "Mike wrote: "Peter wrote: "Mike wrote: "I would not expect any World of Warcraft books to be shining examples of littary gold, but Christine Golden is a fairly decent writer, The Shattering was a d..."

I've read three Christie Golden Warcraft books. Arthas: Rise of the Lich King was ok. I think the one most people adore by her is Lord of the Clans which I really loved and couldn't put down. The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm was a story of transition and really bored me for some reason through most of the book. The story of what happened to Cairne Bloodhoof was interesting. The Last Guardian (not a Christie Golden book) was a fun read.


message 31: by Nick (new)

Nick (Whyzen) | 1290 comments When reading about the writer for our Blindsight read I ran across some glowing reviews for his Video Game book Crysis: Legion. I haven't read it but I'm tempted to.


message 32: by Levi (new)

Levi Tinney (LeviS) | 41 comments If you like military-sci-fi, the Gears of War books by Karen Traviss are pretty good. Better stories than the games have had so far. She also wrote the Republic Commando series, starting with Hard Contact, which is a series of Star Wars books based on a Star Wars video game. They are my favorite Star Wars books that aren't either by Zahn or part of the Rogue Squadron series.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Ico: Castle in the Mist (other topics)
EVE: The Burning Life (other topics)
EVE: The Empyrean Age (other topics)
The Dark Elf Trilogy Gift Set (other topics)
Halo: The Fall of Reach, The Flood, First Strike (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

Robert Holdstock (other topics)
Richard A. Knaak (other topics)
Karen Traviss (other topics)