Once again I'm delighted to host a guest post from proper-writer, Forbes West, author of Medium Talent: An Apocolypse World Weird Book and the forthcoming Nighthawks At the Mission. He' s also a gamer. All yours, Forbes...
Full disclosure: I am not a hardcore video game like some author I know (let’s call him Rick Gnole). The latest video game purchase I have made was Skyrim. I still play Skyrim. I’m half way (?) done, I believe, and most of my time is spent running Guild missions for the people living in the Sewers in Riften and attacking NPCs outside the city. Yes, it’s 2016. I understand. I should get something new. I should do better. And it’s not like I don’t love video games- I absolutely do. I am just very, very, very particular where my disposable dollars are spent, and I like booze. A lot. And that stuff that’s getting slowly legalized in every state north of the old confederacy.
So my entertainment dollar is usually not spent on video games because I have some issues and am quietly self-medicating. But every once in a while, I’ll buy a game- maybe every six years or so. Once in a blue upon blue moon, when the stars are right. And the reason I do is because certain games have a certain story, setting and characters that just make me want to live in that world and explore. Breathe its pixelated air, interact with its fake dangers and its artificial intrigues, and most of all, the game looks like it will inspire me to be a better writer.
Certain video games out there, especially role playing ones, are some of the best stories ever written brought to virtual life- the writing is on a level way beyond what most of us would ever seen in the theaters or what is doled out on Barnes and Nobles bookshelves marked “Science Fiction” or “Fantasy”.
Who doesn’t remember the twist and turns of Fallout 2 and the arrival of the Enclave and discovering the United States Government still existed? The shift from fighting Shinra to saving the world from Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII and the death of Aerith? The writing of such games covers hundreds of hours of dialogue, virtual books to be read, scrolls to be viewed, etc. The world building, too, in these very certain cases, is much more fleshed out than anything else out there- and seeing what a team of imagineers can do makes me want to be a better writer. To know my science fiction story setting so in and out that anyone reading it would feel as if a portal had opened and they had fallen into some other reality.
Video games, being an art form unto itself, challenge my imagination and makes me want to do something as good as their programmer/writers had done, just as movies or novels have since forever. Skyrim inspired my novel, “Nighthawks at the Mission”, which is available in the link below. So did Fallout 3, Final Fantasy VII, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
Any writer out there who wants inspiration, who needs a virtual muse, who wants to see some awesome imaginary settings to get a charge off of, should play a game or two. It’s helped me. It’s definitely helped that Rick Gnole guy’s imagination.
You can read more of my crap at forbeswestbooks.com