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Sunday Conversation: Like That Game? Read This Book!

  • Ereaser NLEreaser NL378,569
    Posted on 25 July 16 at 12:20Permalink
    I have 3 of the gears books but I've yet to start reading them. I hardly ever read anymore so it'll be a long term activity unless the books really grab me.
  • V0lTeDV0lTeD688,716
    Posted on 25 July 16 at 13:04Permalink
    unequalized joe said:
    I definitely have to recommend Ernest Cline's "Ready Player One" to anyone interested in eighties gaming (arcade, home computer, home console) or gaming in general. In a dystopian future, everyone is plugged into a free MMO called the Oasis. When its creator dies, he leaves in his will a quest to solve an easter egg in the game, and the first person to find it gets to take control of the game company/gets billions of dollars. The easter egg is based around eighties culture, and the main character has to use a knowledge of arcade games — as well as classic movies and music — to uncover the easter egg before a sinister corporation does. Think of it as Willy Wonka meets the Matrix meets the Hunger Games.
    If nothing else, this is an amazing book. The first book in many years that I was simply unable to put down. Absolutely fantastic and couldn't recommend it enough!

    As for those in the article, I have to agree with the Gears books. Considering the nature of the games Travis does a great job of giving the world and characters within depth and made me appreciate the background story a whole lot more.

    Excellent article, I will get round to some of these recommendations!
  • Zedymieon77Zedymieon77316,814
    Posted on 25 July 16 at 14:08Permalink
    unequalized joe said:
    I definitely have to recommend Ernest Cline's "Ready Player One" to anyone interested in eighties gaming (arcade, home computer, home console) or gaming in general. In a dystopian future, everyone is plugged into a free MMO called the Oasis. When its creator dies, he leaves in his will a quest to solve an easter egg in the game, and the first person to find it gets to take control of the game company/gets billions of dollars. The easter egg is based around eighties culture, and the main character has to use a knowledge of arcade games — as well as classic movies and music — to uncover the easter egg before a sinister corporation does. Think of it as Willy Wonka meets the Matrix meets the Hunger Games.

    And seconding The Long Halloween and Dark Victory, they're definitely a great jumping-off point for people who love the Arkham series.
    I'm going to second the recommendation of Ready Player One. That book was simply amazing. Even though I'm a 90s kid who didn't fully understand all the 80s references, I still found the book to be very enjoyable.

    And for anyone who is familiar with The Last Starfighter, Ernest Cline more recently put out a book called Armada. Whilst I personally liked Ready Player One more than Armada, I still highly recommend Armada. The premise of getting good at video games so that you can be proficient in the real world military is interesting, and Cline yet again delivers with his work.

    And both of those books just so happen to have movie adaptations being worked on as well. Something to look forward to, hopefully they can pull through with it.
    XSEED owns my soul.
  • planting42planting421,487,750
    Posted on 25 July 16 at 14:21Permalink
    Its a shame the movie (Ender's Game) was so compressed. It really could have been a 2-3 part set instead of squishing all the fun battles into like 10 minutes.
    http://www.trueachievements.com/gtasc-2016.htm
  • RedBlinkyRedBlinky1,020,176
    Posted on 25 July 16 at 16:59Permalink
    it doesn't really belong on the list unless the list is just books that are good which describes the black company it is good, and has nothing to do with video games. But if you like Raymond feist, David eddings, or the wheel of time series and haven't read the black company you should.
  • AhayzoAhayzo780,352
    Posted on 25 July 16 at 18:11Permalink
    Personally, I think the Diablo books - Sin War trilogy is phenomenal - are possibly the best I've read on terms of books based on games. If we're talking about books that have a game regardless of what came first, Neuromancer hands down. Easily in my top 3 books of all time from any genre, even if the game doesn't hold up today.
  • HalidocHalidoc922,672
    Posted on 25 July 16 at 18:34Permalink
    x Mataeus x said:
    For anyone enjoying the stellar depths of Elite: Dangerous, Peter F Hamilton's Nights Dawn trilogy is absolutely fucking ridiculously outstanding.

    3,600 pages of space opera, with a genre slide into horror, and amazing detail from the furthest planets to the smallest human thought. The trilogy has everything from space trading to Satanic sacrifice, and covers millions of years of history - human or otherwise.

    It's brutal, beautiful, sexual, horrific and completely unequivocally brilliant.
    I have always had my eye on this series but was always weary because it involves the souls of the dead coming back and possessing people. I am just wondering if it is actually explained in a reasonable manner or if it is through so-called "space magic." I prefer my sci-fi more rooted in reality or from a reasonable and plausible standpoint, which is why I enjoyed Revelation Space so much. It seems like a more fantasy thing to be bringing souls back from the dead. Not that fantasy and sci-fi can't mesh mind you, but my personal reading experience is I prefer them divided.

    Also, question to all of you singing all this praise for Ender's Game and Orson Scott Card, what are your thoughts on his documented anti-gay remarks and homophobia?:

    http://www.wired.com/2013/10/enders-game/

    http://www.verbicidemagazine.com/2013/11/07/homophobia-quote...

    This has been the main reason I have not read one of his books. I refuse to give any money to him in any way to further his agenda. I was gifted a copy of Ender's Game a while ago, but my hatred of his stance on the LGBT community has prevented me from reading it thus far. I know he does not use his books as a platform for pushing this agenda, but still does nothing to take away the comments he has made. And reading this article this has not helped me want to read his book any more so:

    http://thinkprogress.org/alyssa/2013/02/21/1619481/an-ethica...
  • PangoBaraPangoBara1,145,895
    Posted on 25 July 16 at 18:44Permalink
    BLOOD BERSEKER said:
    HighT3chR3dn3ck said:
    HOLY SHIT! Dr. Halsey lost an arm? Oh I was I supposed to have read some book to know how we got from Halo 4 to Halo 5?

    All I can say about that is, F@#! any game that requires you to read to get a full understanding of the story.

    For real, I am here to be entertained, not to do research!
    You were supposed to play halo 4 spartan ops, not to read the books to know that.
    I beat all of Halo 4's Spartan Ops and I don't remember that. All I remember is that, at the beginning of Halo 5, some of the Osiris Spartans talk about it really fast.
    Santino
  • XpovosXpovos742,682
    Posted on 25 July 16 at 19:05Permalink
    Halidoc said:
    Also, question to all of you singing all this praise for Ender's Game and Orson Scott Card, what are your thoughts on his documented anti-gay remarks and homophobia?:

    http://www.wired.com/2013/10/enders-game/

    http://www.verbicidemagazine.com/2013/11/07/homophobia-quote...

    This has been the main reason I have not read one of his books. I refuse to give any money to him in any way to further his agenda. I was gifted a copy of Ender's Game a while ago, but my hatred of his stance on the LGBT community has prevented me from reading it thus far. I know he does not use his books as a platform for pushing this agenda, but still does nothing to take away the comments he has made. And reading this article this has not helped me want to read his book any more so:

    http://thinkprogress.org/alyssa/2013/02/21/1619481/an-ethica...
    Card is a devout Mormon, as such his religion instructs that homosexuality is a sin--it's hardly a unique view, though one that is increasingly hard to hold these days. Card has been particularly outspoken about the issue because he has seen the change in perception towards homosexuality as a dangerous thing for the society in which he lives, and because of his position as an author of prominence he felt it useful to speak on that topic. If something is sinful, it should not be 'accepted' because that is bad for the person being accepted and for the example via scandal it sets for other issues and for people. "We tolerate people who do things that are harmful to themselves and possibly others" is arguably not a good message for society to set.

    Card may have gone further than some commentators with similar views, but most of his statements are completely in line with traditional religious thought, particularly within the Mormon faith, and the most egregious were often off-the-cuff or said in response to stimuli that caused him to overstate issues, perhaps unintentionally.

    I've only read Ender's Game of his works; there are several of his books that deal with religious topics more, but Ender's Game does not. It's a straight-forward sci-fi "us vs. them" war novel. It does engage in some deep philosophizing on values, but those tend to be on the subjects of child soldiers, war in general, genocide and other value of life issues. Sexuality, of any sort, is an extraordinarily limited element of the plot, particularly for a book about teenagers.

    Is Ender's Game worth reading? Yes.
    Is Card homophobic. My take: no, but that's based on an understanding of the word that may differ from yours.
    Is Card societally conservative? Absolutely.

    If you don't want to support someone you disagree with politically by buying their book, that's fine. You can borrow a copy from the local library, the costs have already been paid by your taxes and unless you damage the book they won't need to replace it or buy extra copies just because you checked it out. Then you can see what the fuss is about first hand, not just about the book, but about Card's views writ large.
    Time not important; only life important.
  • CompanyOfWolvesCompanyOfWolves1,196,595
    Posted on 25 July 16 at 21:13Permalink
    Bit late to the party. Fan of Saints Row could try Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong for some batshit crazy gang violence shenanigans. For Silent Hill fans the Ghost Road Blues trilogy by Jonathan Maberry, similar themes of a small town taken over by an omnipresent evil and tragic past.
  • ShinnizleShinnizle889,850
    Posted on 25 July 16 at 21:28Permalink
    In regards to Orson Scott Card, I'll reply the same thing I do when people who hate Tom Cruise stiffen up when I say I love his movies. I read books for entertainment. I watch movies for entertainment. I play video games for entertainment. As long as they entertain me, I don't give a damn about what the people behind said entertainment think. They have their personal lives, it's none of my business, and personally, I don't really care.
    Broke is a state of wallet. Poverty is a state of mind.
  • HalidocHalidoc922,672
    Posted on 25 July 16 at 21:32Permalink
    Xpovos said:
    Card is a devout Mormon, as such his religion instructs that homosexuality is a sin--it's hardly a unique view, though one that is increasingly hard to hold these days. Card has been particularly outspoken about the issue because he has seen the change in perception towards homosexuality as a dangerous thing for the society in which he lives, and because of his position as an author of prominence he felt it useful to speak on that topic.
    Xpovos said:
    Card may have gone further than some commentators with similar views, but most of his statements are completely in line with traditional religious thought, particularly within the Mormon faith, and the most egregious were often off-the-cuff or said in response to stimuli that caused him to overstate issues, perhaps unintentionally.
    Oh, I understand why he makes the comments that he makes and I don't disagree that his comments are in line with his faith. You do put it into a better perspective. But I don't know if I can attribute the fact that just because he is a prominent author if he is just echoing the sentiments of his religion or if he is taking a personal stance on the issue, and that still doesn't change the fact that he has made comments that are clearly anti-gay. As time has passed it seems that he as switched his focus to being anti-gay marriage, but Card's direct quote, “Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down,” and I admit I am only taking quotes I have seen directly and am not totally familiar with the message he was trying to make or the context, this is pretty damning.

    Xpovos said:
    I've only read Ender's Game of his works; there are several of his books that deal with religious topics more, but Ender's Game does not. It's a straight-forward sci-fi "us vs. them" war novel. It does engage in some deep philosophizing on values, but those tend to be on the subjects of child soldiers, war in general, genocide and other value of life issues. Sexuality, of any sort, is an extraordinarily limited element of the plot, particularly for a book about teenagers.
    I understand that, and like I said I know he doesn't use his books as a platform to push this agenda. Still doesn't change the fact that he has made anti-gay comments.

    Xpovos said:
    Is Card homophobic. My take: no, but that's based on an understanding of the word that may differ from yours.
    The way I define homophobia it exactly how the Oxford Dictionary defines it, which is "dislike of or prejudice against homosexual people." Which Card has clearly exhibited in his quotes, although as time has passed he has definitely softened his tone.

    Xpovos said:
    If you don't want to support someone you disagree with politically by buying their book, that's fine. You can borrow a copy from the local library...you can see what the fuss is about first hand, not just about the book, but about Card's views writ large.
    Like I said, I have a copy that was gifted to me and has been sitting around my bookshelf for years. But this goes beyond disagreeing with him politically as while homosexuality and gay marriage are political issues, I disagree with him on all his stances he has taken against the LGBT community.

    Didn't mean to cherry pick your quotes, but those are the things I wanted to focus on, let me know if I misconstrued anything you brought up. I will say that I don't know if if should fault Card for being a mouthpiece for his faith and chalk it up to that, but he has made some not-so-nice comments in the past and I am having a hard time getting past that so I can read his novel/s.

    I didn't mean for the subject to get off topic, but as we are discussing books to video games and such I will bring up that the game Shadow Complex is based on/set in the same universe as an Orson Scott Card novel, Empire, and when I learned that after playing the game I was pretty upset with myself for all the reasons I have previously stated.
  • Posted on 25 July 16 at 21:49Permalink
    I like turtles.
    In this world gone mad, we won't spank the monkey, the monkey will spank us!
  • AllgorhythmAllgorhythm374,643
    Posted on 25 July 16 at 22:09Permalink
    Shinnizle said:
    In regards to Orson Scott Card, I'll reply the same thing I do when people who hate Tom Cruise stiffen up when I say I love his movies. I read books for entertainment. I watch movies for entertainment. I play video games for entertainment. As long as they entertain me, I don't give a damn about what the people behind said entertainment think. They have their personal lives, it's none of my business, and personally, I don't really care.
    Agreed. Personally, I tend to be liberal in my societal views. However, that means not only do I embrace diversity but also champion freedom of expression. There's a difference between people spewing out hateful rhetoric and people who voice opinions less tolerant than mine. Bear in mind that many of the groups who have faced adversity have improved their circumstances using that very same freedom of expression.

    It's been quite a while since I read Orson Card. I do not recall his books advocating intolerance. Quite the opposite. There is an anti-xenophobia theme even though the enemies appeared to be vile with no redeeming qualities. So, in essence, although he has made some intolerant comments in real life, he has broadcast a far more ubiquitous message of tolerance in his best selling books.
  • XpovosXpovos742,682
    Posted on 25 July 16 at 22:21Permalink
    As far as I can tell, we're having a friendly discussion about the merits of certain viewpoints, and people who espouse them--and whether that impacts their own works of art's cultural value. If I haven't offended you, aces, it's mutual. If I have, it certainly wasn't intentional, and I'd like to apologize. Personally, I like what Shinnizle wrote above. If it's entertaining, it's worth it on its own merits, regardless of who was involved in the creation. You played Shadow Complex without realizing it's (minimal) affiliation with Card and therefore even more minimal affiliation with his politics. Prior to that realization, did you enjoy it? If you enjoyed it before the realization and now dislike the game (and are upset with yourself) then I think that speaks to a bigger issue--which is even further off topic, so I'll skip it for now.

    The word homophobia is of Greek origin and would literally translate to something like "fear of the same" or "fear of similarities", which is particularly ironic since so much of this has nothing to do with fear and everything to do with dissimilarities. The problem exists (on both sides) in an inability to see and accept the viewpoint of the other. The man who coined the word "homophobia" tried to define it under medical mental disorders of phobias, and as such an irrational and disordered mentality. He said, "It was a fear of homosexuals which seemed to be associated with a fear of contagion, a fear of reducing the things one fought for — home and family. It was a religious fear and it had led to great brutality as fear always does," and that was a mere 50 years ago (not quite). For the word to have evolved even as it has in those intervening 50 years to your Oxford dictionary's "dislike of or prejudice against homosexuals" is fascinating.

    To try to bring it back to the point, though, let's look at a different game and different notable person. I recall reading about one person's experience playing Thomas Was Alone. Thomas Was Alone is generally regarded as a pretty good indie platformer with an interesting minimalist story. It has a 3.8 star rating here at TA, not first rate, but well above the garbage. This person, though, could not get past the fact that the narrator was Danny Wallace, a man who irked him for reasons I no longer know and probably didn't understand to start with. Danny's voice is the entirety of the plot and a large part of the game, so an aversion to Danny's voice might be understandable, but this was something to do with politics! A man came in and read a script, and someone got upset because he didn't like the man reading the script--even though he had no part in creating it or put any of his own ideas or works into it.

    This person was, like our hypothetical homophobe example, self-harming. They were unable to enjoy a decent video game because their judgements were clouded by an irrational dislike--even hatred--of someone they felt of as "other". In the Weinberg sense, a "heterophobia". If we only talk to and get along with "people like me," we're going to miss out on a lot, and not just in games.

    Blah, I've said a lot of words, I feel like I should really bring it on-topic somehow. Here we go...

    One of the games I recently bought and Bean Dived was Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf Console Edition. That game is itself based on a series of "Choose Your Own Adventure" style RPG books published a while back. The whole thing is a throwback to nostalgia for me. Reading a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book is hardly the same as sitting down to read through a more weighty novel which got video-game adapted, but it's been a fun distraction for me.

    Similarly, many people aren't aware that I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream is a thematic and plot souce for a lot of current stuff including the Terminator franchise and a number of video games, though none a direct adaptation on an Xbox console, you can definitely feel the effects of that story through a lot of modern plotlines.

    And I'd be totally remiss to fail to mention the thought that much of Bioshock's dystopianism is based on a thought experiment by the game designer's to let Ayn Rand's objectivism run wild for a while and see what happened.

    Hopefully, these examples are innovative and interesting enough to make up for the digression.
    Time not important; only life important.
  • AllgorhythmAllgorhythm374,643
    Posted on 25 July 16 at 22:35Permalink
    Xpovos said:
    Similarly, many people aren't aware that I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream is a thematic and plot souce for a lot of current stuff including the Terminator franchise and a number of video games, though none a direct adaptation on an Xbox console, you can definitely feel the effects of that story through a lot of modern plotlines.

    Hopefully, these examples are innovative and interesting enough to make up for the digression.

    I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream


    What a classic--one of many that appeared in the late, great IF SF magazine. You are spot on with regards to the extensive influence it has had on speculative fiction in various media over the last half a century.
  • HalidocHalidoc922,672
    Posted on 25 July 16 at 23:46, Edited on 26 July 16 at 00:28 by HalidocPermalink
    Since people have been bringing up a lot of other points I have been typing responses to 4 different quotes, but will try to condense them here.

    I didn't mean so much that an actor/writer's personal stance on issues can affect their work, but it is a distinct possibility. I don't have an issue with the message of the novel Ender's Game itself, I have an issue with people possibly blindly supporting an author whose personal views may conflict with their own, and am gauging how they respond to that.

    Some of the responses have been, for all intents and purposes, "Ignorance is bliss." I, personally, have trouble taking that stance, and it mildly perturbs me when people do. I wrote this as a response to Shinnizle, but take for example: Using his actor angle take Mel Gibson for instance. He has made anti-Semitic comments in the past and even he has acknowledged that he made those comments, but as of this time has apologized for it and asked the public for forgiveness. With that knowledge in mind do you watch his movies happily knowing that he was a formerly known anti-Semite? Or do you watch his movies wearily knowing that while he may make enjoyable movies he is not the most outstanding person on the planet?

    Xpovos said:
    You played Shadow Complex without realizing it's (minimal) affiliation with Card and therefore even more minimal affiliation with his politics. Prior to that realization, did you enjoy it? If you enjoyed it before the realization and now dislike the game (and are upset with yourself) then I think that speaks to a bigger issue--which is even further off topic, so I'll skip it for now.
    I have a great passion for Metroidvania style games, as Super Metroid is my favorite game of all time, and Symphony of the Night is in my top 5 favorite games. So yes, I did enjoy the game when playing through. Although with all these other points being brought up I actually wonder if the development team for Shadow Complex had any knowledge of Card's viewpoints, or if they were just trying to make the best game they could. From what I have read Card had no involvement in the development of the game outside of the setting, which was laid out in his novel. But I don't dislike the game at all, I am, or was, upset that I indirectly supported someone whose views on homosexuality are drastically different than mine.

    It is hard for me to disassociate a person from their work, even if they played a minimal role in it's development/writing/acting, etc. But I think that is more a statement about my personality as opposed to not realizing the significance of the work. At the very least I do believe that any support, however small, to a popular figure with views opposite your own is still a support for views that you may not believe in.

    Allgorhythm said:
    It's been quite a while since I read Orson Card. I do not recall his books advocating intolerance. Quite the opposite. There is an anti-xenophobia theme even though the enemies appeared to be vile with no redeeming qualities. So, in essence, although he has made some intolerant comments in real life, he has broadcast a far more ubiquitous message of tolerance in his best selling books.
    I think this is the main point I will take from all this discussion, but I still have trouble accepting any support for someone with such toxic viewpoints, although as stated I see he has softened his stance over the years. I am a huge advocate of free speech, but free speech does not mean freedom from consequences. But I do believe that people's view can change over time with a greater grasp of a situation, and as such those consequences do not need be so drastic. I have an issue with people whose viewpoint changes based on their the effect it will have on their career, and people whose viewpoints have changed because they put honest thought into both sides of an issue to what their belief was before. As stated before I am unsure if Card is just a mouthpiece for the Mormons and his views are changing along with their own, or if he is truly seeing his past viewpoints may have been a bit extreme and has learned from that.

    With this discussion I think I will be able to separate Card from his works as I know full well now his personal stances do not bleed into his writings, and in fact his faith may have attributed his ability to properly separate his feelings from his books. I was also gifted Xenocide so unless I buy Speaker for the Dead I would be reading them out of publication order.

    Back on track. I am not a huge fan of hack-n-slash/beat-em-ups, but how well did Dante's Inferno translate from the novel itself? Is it a decent through all 9 levels of hell? And did EA plan it as a one-off game or if it was more successful would we have gotten the rest of the Divine Comedy, namely Purgatorio and Paradiso?

    Also, with Bioshock and my earlier reference to Reynold's Chasm City and the concept of the Unreliable Narrator, I neglected to mention The Fifth Head of Cerberus by Gene Wolfe, which is a mind-boggling read as from what I remember the narrator is reaaaally unreliable, or rather does not know himself if he is reliably telling his story.
  • ElyohElyoh814,885
    Posted on 26 July 16 at 00:18Permalink
    I personally thought Dante's Inferno did a good job of turning the novel into a game. It goes through all the nine levels of hell.

    At the end it leads on to Paradiso, but I doubt we'll see it.
    No God, know fear. Know God, no fear.
  • ShinnizleShinnizle889,850
    Posted on 26 July 16 at 00:40Permalink
    Halidoc said:
    Some of the responses have been, for all intents and purposes, "Ignorance is bliss." I, personally, have trouble taking that stance, and it mildly perturbs me when people do. I wrote this as a response to Shinnizle, but take for example: Using his actor angle take Mel Gibson for instance. He has made anti-Semitic comments in the past and even he has acknowledged that he made those comments, but as of this time has apologized for it and asked the public for forgiveness. With that knowledge in mind do you watch his movies happily knowing that he was a formerly known anti-Semite? Or do you watch his movies wearily knowing that while he may make enjoyable movies he is not the most outstanding person on the planet?
    I don't personally care for Mel Gibson much in the first place. But if he were to star in/write/direct/produce a movie I deemed "deserving" of my attention, and for the sake of the argument, became one of my favorite movies, the fact that Mel Gibson had a hand in it wouldn't change my view of the movie in the slightest. Hell, the actors' personal lives and/or views don't even cross my mind when I watch their movies.

    It goes the other way around too. If I were to see a movie star walking in the street, you wouldn't see me fanboying all over them, asking for their autograph, shaking hands, taking pictures... I generally don't give a flying fuck about them off camera laugh
    Broke is a state of wallet. Poverty is a state of mind.
  • AhayzoAhayzo780,352
    Posted on 26 July 16 at 00:59Permalink
    Halidoc said:
    With that knowledge in mind do you watch his movies happily knowing that he was a formerly known anti-Semite? Or do you watch his movies wearily knowing that while he may make enjoyable movies he is not the most outstanding person on the planet?
    Personally, neither. You know what doesn't even come to mind when I watch The Patriot? What Mel Gibson thinks or thought about a certain group of people. The reason being, you know what has nothing to do with the movie and it's quality at all? What Mel Gibson thinks or thought about a certain group of people.
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