From Games to Books

March 8, 2010

Nothing beats being able to curl up at the end of the day with a good book (or in my case, a Kindle) in your lap. I love to read, so there’s always a pretty eclectic collection on my reading list — mystery, drama, sci-fi, horror, fantasy, the occasional trashy romance (I’m actually quite partial to the historical Harlequins…mmm…), and because I’m such a sucker for the lore behind the games I’m playing, every now and then I’ll also throw in a video-game novel. I guess you can say it’s one of my guilty pleasures.

This is going to sound really nerdy, but I do love game lore. I love it a lot. Books based on video games aren’t always all that good, but I’m not reading them for the award-winning writing. I pick them up for what they bring to the table in terms of the back story and character development. It’s why I choose to read them in the first place, and not just some brief article on the game’s wiki page.

And I do get pleasantly surprised every once in a while. I just finished reading Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne by David Gaider, which I must say is one of the best video game novels I have ever read. There are parts of it that feel rushed (what I like to call the “primer effect” that plagues so many works of this genre), but despite that I was still quite happy with the depth of the story. I also felt that character development was done surprisingly well — so well that I don’t think I can bring myself to hate Teyrn Loghain anymore. If you enjoyed Dragon Age: Origins and would like a little background information on the events that took place before the game, I would definitely recommend this.

I’m moving on to Michael Crichton’s Pirate Latitudes now, but I’m not done adding video-game novels to my lineup of books-to-read just yet. I’ve read most of the Warcraft novels but there are still a few out there I haven’t gotten my hands on, or I might even give some of the Warhammer Online books a try. I was also recently made aware of the Mass Effect books (thanks to Paulman) so that’s another possibility. If there are other lore-geeks like me out there who enjoy their games enough to read their novelizations, I’m also open to any recommendations!


  1. I’m looking forward to STO’s “The Needs of the Many,” mostly because I heard its going to be done in a “journalistic” style similar to World War Z, one of my all-time favorite books.

    • Oh? A book that’s actually based on STO and not just the Star Trek universe in general? That’s news to me!

  2. I WHAT?! Lol. I was surprised to read my name in your blog post. You are welcome 🙂

    The funny thing is (well, two things):

    1) I hardly remember when I “made you aware” of the Mass Effect books. Upon reflection, I guess it was an isolated question I asked about whether Subject Zero was the girl with autism in one of the Mass Effect books. Which leads to funny point #2…

    2) My only experience with the Mass Effect books is skim-reading through one in a Chapters over about half an hour. I was definitely too cheap to buy one. And I think it was a Chapters in Mississauga or Toronto, too! (What are the odds)

    Anyways, I had a real question for this post: have you ever read the X-Wing series?

    • Yeah, it was you wasn’t it? All I knew was when you said that, I looked it up on Amazon and lo and behold, there were these ME books I hadn’t ever heard of. Good to know about them.

      And no, I haven’t read the X-wing books. I heard about them a lot though, and actually have the series in ebook form somewhere on my computer. Do you recommend?

      • The X-Wing series are my favorite book series of all time (unless the Bible counts as a book series) 😛

        Basically, the X-Wing book series combine authentic Star Wars lore, highly detailed space battles and tactics, and a distinct sense of humor. Michael A. Stackpole’s entries are probably the most quirky in terms of humor (my favorite), but I think the other entries still keep a light-hearted edge blended in with all the political and dramatic intrigue.

  3. I recently read the elder scrolls novel Infernal City, which takes place about 40 years after oblivion. i actually wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re a big fan.

    • Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll have to play Oblivion first though. I have the game for the Xbox 360, been waiting to get into it for the longest time, but have a few more games to get through first.

      • I don’t know what you’re waiting for, oblivion is excellent.

      • Heh heh, okay I’ll play that after i’m done Bioshock 2.

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