A thoughtful and helpful reflection on GameLit (Game Literature) from Benjamin Cheah, readers:
GameLit: Not Just Written Games
Gamelit / LitRPG is one of the hottest literary genres on the market. It attempts to replicate the gaming experience in written form, taking the tropes of role-playing games and reproducing them on the page. As a reader and a gamer, the genre ought to be in my alley.
And yet… it is the opposite.
I could never quite connect with books in the genre. The only LitRPG novels I could unreservedly recommend are books that depart from the mould. More than just a question of quality, I sense it is a systemic issue within the genre itself. I’ve been trying to put down in words what exactly I disliked about the genre. Alexander Hellene’s post ‘De-Gamification‘ puts into words thoughts that have been swirling in my mind for months.
In brief: games and books are not the same.
People play games to engage the game mechanics. Within the boundaries of the rules, players seek to hone and exercise their skills against the competition. You don’t need a plot to play a game. Even in RPGs, the purpose of a plot is primarily to provide justification for the player to go to someplace new and exotic so he can continue engaging with the game mechanics.