Game novels have been cropping up a lot lately, but don’t expect a game-to-movie translation if you’ve been interested in this medium. Most video game novels are well written, and take the lore, characters, and atmosphere of that game and turn it into a new adventure. Most authors are passionate about their novel translations because they know that gamers are picky, and don’t want our favorite franchises muddled with. When an author sticks too closely to the game, or won’t do anything original or new with the franchise the results are usually poor. If you are interested in doing some reading, here are a few suggestions of excellent video game novels.
Dragon Age Trilogy: The Stolen Throne, The Calling, and Asunder – These are three excellent novels written by the man who wrote the story for the games themselves. David Gaider is a unique writer and he give you a directly look into the minds of the characters in the book to help you get a more personal understanding of the world that you play in. The books are very psychological, especially The Calling, but you still feel as if you are in the Dragon Age universe. The lore of the Dragon Age universe translates well in this novel and the adventure plays out in similar fashion. Each book takes on a different class, or “group”, from the games so fans can pick thier favorite. The Calling is my favorite because it takes a few people down into the depths of Thedas where the Darkspawn lurk. What these people go through is just horrendous, and you will be on the edge of your seat through the whole novel.
Gears of War: Aspho Fields, Jacinto’s Remnant, Anvil Gate, Coalition’s End – If you truly love the Gears universe, then these novels are for you. Each book takes place at a different time in the Gears trilogy line and fills in a lot of gaps that the games leave open. Aspho Fields takes you through Dom and Marcus’s childhood and how they met before E-Day. It may be a little slow for people who are fans of the action, but if you love these wonderful characters then this book will tell you more about their past. Jacinto’s Remnant takes place after Gears 2 and is a tale about survival up until Coalition’s End. This novel addresses the questions left open in Gears 3. Specifically, how Cole and Baird met, and what everyone has to go through during the last little bit that humanity has left. This book is gripping, chilling, and will tug at your heart strings as you watch as humanity itself crumble among a genocidal species. Anvil Gate is a side story about Colonel Hoffman defending Anvil Gate (you hear this mentioned many times in the series), and why it was so controversial among the COG. If you finish all these novels, look out for The Slab coming out soon, which will tell the tale of what Marcus went through leading up to the opening sequence in Gears of War.
Fable: The Balverine Order, Blood Ties – Each of these books take the general Fable idea and crafts a whole new story. Each one is equally good with two unrelated and different tales. The first is set when heroes and creatures didn’t exist. A boy and his friend set out to find the Balverine that killed his brother, all taking place in the Fable universe. Blood Ties is a journey about a wanderer who runs into a gnome (Fable III fans will know what they are right away) while battling his own inner demons. Both books are very entertaining and worth a read if you need more Fable in your life.
BioShock: Rapture – This is one of my favorite game novels because it gives more details about how Rapture was started. The author takes every little tidbit from the first game and recreates it perfectly in literary form. Many of the conversations in the book are word-for-word audio diaries from the first game. All of the characters are here. When you play the game you’ll recognize the descriptions of the book and they support each other perfectly. This book makes you want to go back and play the game again just so you can piece everything together again. If you are looking for a way to experience Rapture again, this is the perfect addendum to the Bioshock series.