Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘video games’

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"A Physical Link into the World of the Fictional"

For the last several years, we’ve periodically explored the intersections between fiction and video games in these pixilated pages–they are, after all, both narrative art forms. Back in 2009, we published Christine Hartzler’s “Games Are Not About Monsters,” which was subsequently anthologized in Dzanc’s 2010 Best of the Web. In 2010, Mike Rudin argued that the Next Great American Novel just might be a video game (heresy!). And in 2011, Celeste Ng wondered, along with the Guardian, “Why aren’t more novelists weren’t writing vido games?” Most recently, James Pinto sat down in March for an interview with Tom Bissell, who […]


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Jane Austen: Word Fighter

The love affair between literature and video games keeps going strong. Who’s the newest literary figure to cross over? Why, Jane Austen, of course. App developer Feel Every Yummy presents Word Fighter, a head-to-head word puzzle game starring literary characters. The game looks like Street Fighter crossed with Boggle, and here’s the trailer, which can only be described as AWESOME: Players can battle as Edgar (Allen Poe), Agatha (Christie), and yes, Jane (Austen). Forbes has the scoop: When Gian Cruz and Kris Zabala, the founders and sole employees of up-and-coming app developer Feel Every Yummy, came up with the idea […]


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The Games Writers Play

So you’re hanging out with some writer-friends on a Saturday night.  Perhaps you’re gathered your salon sipping absinthe, or–let’s be realistic, here–snuggled up on hand-me-down sofas drinking Yellowtail and arguing about why people don’t read short stories.  (Uh, just me?) Anyway, at some point you call a truce in the debate on whether “chick lit” is a useful term, or  you call a halt to the V.S. Naipaul-bashing.  How to occupy yourselves now? By playing a literary board game, of course. In the New York Times, Dwight Gardner outlines something he calls “the paperback game“: One player, the “picker” for […]


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Video games: the next writing prompt?

As part of our ongoing Short Story Month celebrations, we’re delighted to present the following guest post by Drake Misek, an intern at Fiction Writers Review through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) at the University of Michigan. The next game to come out of Rockstar—who you probably know for Grand Theft Auto and might know for last year’s acclaimed Red Dead Redemption—will be L.A. Noire. True to its name, it’ll be a sort of detective adventure in a recreated 1940s L.A. There’s been a lot of hype for the game, fueled by its publisher, premise, and some great features, […]


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Sims, meet literature. Literature, meet The Sims.

Perhaps you’ve seen the work of Next Media Animation, which animates recent news stories into (unintentionally?) hilarious Sims-style 3-D video clips. (Seriously. If you haven’t seen these before, check them out now. Go ahead. I’ll wait right here.) Anyway, now this 3-D technology is being used for something educational. The New York Times reports that college literature classes are using 3-D animations to bring literature to life for students: Prof. Katherine Rowe’s blue-haired avatar was flying across a grassy landscape to a virtual three-dimensional re-creation of the Globe Theater, where some students from her introductory Shakespeare class at Bryn Mawr […]


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Lit and video games: a forbidden love story?

Why aren’t more novelists writing video games? That’s what the Guardian asked recently: Part of the problem is clearly to do with priorities. As the game writer and former critic Rhianna Pratchett says in the film: “Story is often the last thing thought about and the first thing pulled apart.” So much effort goes into making spectacular worlds, tackling the technical logistics and ensuring the playing experience is enjoyable that decent plot and dialogue fall by the wayside. Yet there are trickier issues involved. As a few people say in the film, gaming presents a unique challenge in terms of […]


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Gatsby: The Video Game

We’ve talked about video games and their relation to narrative before. But how about fiction as video game? Enter I-Play’s video game Classic Adventures: The Great Gatsby, based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel. According to the game description, you can “Find the hidden items on your list triggering character dialogue and progressing the story,” “Recreate Fitzgerald’s famous prose, assemble your own library and earn trophies to share with friends on Facebook,” and “Complete unique mini-games: test your memory, put yourself in the author’s seat, or solve portrait puzzles.” Here’s a screenshot, complete with some landmarks from the novel: I-Play offers […]


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WGA's 2009 Nominations for Best Video Game Writing

Yesterday FWR published a very exciting essay by Michael Rudin on the history, future, and literary/artistic potential of video games. While this piece was in the publishing pipeline, the Writer’s Guild of America announced its 2009 nominations for best video game writing. The “destabilizing” narrative behind Modern Warfare 2, discussed in Rudin’s essay, was officially recognized by the WGA for its outstanding storytelling, earning one of the five nominee nods–and the final game Michael worked on at Activision, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, also received a nomination. Below is an excerpt from “Writing the Great American Novel Video Game”; click here to […]


Essays |

Writing the Great American Novel Video Game

For some time I was one of few standing firmly in both camps—writer and gamer, fiction-fiend and pixel-popper. But the innovative nature of Next-Gen gaming, with its leaps in technology and massive install-base, means games have developed new depth–and the future of gaming promises to look a lot more like literature than flight simulators. This is, in many ways, the rise of a new novel. Like its lexicographic predecessor, the pixilated form revels in moral ambiguity, character motivations, conflicts between free will and fate.




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