Reposted – GameLit: Not Just Written Games

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.

Read more….

10 thoughts on “Reposted – GameLit: Not Just Written Games

  1. I attempted to read one gamelit book (by an author that I have enjoyed) but I did find the “stats stuff” distracting.

    Also, the gamelit book was basically a guy from the real world dumped into a “fantasy world” but while a “real novel” of that type had the character learn about the fantasy world by “interacting”/”observing”, the gamelit book “gave” the character the needed information via “stats”.

    I never finished the book and didn’t purchase the sequels.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Guess it is because I’m not in to videogames that this whole topic feels like a conversation taking place in an alien language.

    Closest thing to a videogame that I do is Trainz Railroad Simulator, and with it I mostly build landscapes to drive trains through and see what they look like from the train, or build versions of model railroad trackplans which look interesting.

    And with my health being the ME/CFS, endocrine disease, and autoimmune disease, mess it has been for a couple decades now, I don’t much read novels any more; would rather take what limited energy my body produces and expend it working on models, writing my own stories, and as is evident, getting online to see what is going on in selected corners of reality.

    So I guess I’m in a demographic this issue doesn’t involve.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Even though I’ve played a few of the better-known RPG’s over the years, they have never been my favorite genre, as I tend to prefer grand strategy or FPS. However, I have read a series of novels by R.A. Salvatore with characters either taken directly from RPG’s or based on them, and they were quite interesting. Salvatore’s works (the “Dark Elf Trilogy”, primarily) present well-written stories without any hint that they are based on RPG’s, so I’m not sure they really qualify as “GameLit” in today’s parlance. I have to agree with Mr. Cheah’s point that a story which attempts to put into words an RPG player’s gaming experience in a step-by-step fashion would be terribly boring. One might as well simply watch a video of someone else playing a game.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. p.s.–Off topic, but I wanted to let you know that I recently purchased your Guardian Cycle Vol. 1 for my PC Kindle, and plan to start it as soon as I finish my reading of the Harry Potter series, which previously I had only experienced through the films.

    Shameless flattery of blog host ends. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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