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Orson Scott Card: Books and video games?

“It’s just a game.” How many times have you heard someone say that, whether to a spoilsport loser or anyone else who wraps up their pride and self-esteem into the outcome of competition? But what if a game is designed so well that it truly does tug your heart and soul into it? Does it move beyond just being a game?

Building an Empire

This article shows how “Hugo and Nebula award-winning sci-fi and fantasy author Orson Scott Card” has crossed over media lines and has joined forces with an independent game developer Chair Entertainment to write the book Empire, based on the company’s in-development video game.

Having been a avid gamer at one time or another myself, I would say the most successful video games out there also are ones that possess some of the more in-depth storylines and fleshed-out characters that populate them. Sure, some games base their success off the basic shoot-em-up, and other such genres. But that kind of mindless repetition comes cheap. What makes the more successful ones long-runners is that people get emotionally invested in them, just like…hey, the story in a good book! I believe this shows that the most important aspect of any story is the characters and how real and approachable they are in the reader’s mind. It doesn’t matter how unique your science fiction or fantasy world is (though that helps), or in parallel, how good the graphics are in a video game. What makes a good story capture the reader and shove their nose into the other world you have created depends on a large part on your characters, whether those characters exist in a book, a movie, or a video game.

At some point in the future I will go much deeper into actual characters and how I go about them, and why I hope it makes them more alive in the end. For now, this is a mild response to those who say video games have no value to them other than mind-rotting brain-candy. There are a lot of books that could be listed as the same thing. It doesn’t mean we disregard the entire industry or genre.

And no, this isn’t going to become a video game blog, but storytelling comes in all shapes and sizes and smells, and if there is a good story out there worth hearing, then should it matter what media it comes packaged in?

So, tell me (back to the topic of writing): Is there flesh on the bones of your characters? Or are they just skeletons in a very pretty world that requires an expensive graphics card? Am I mixing too many analogies here? Will I ever stop with the question marks?

?????….okay, I’m done.

I see that smile.

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