Writing Inspiration From Video Games

Writing Inspiration From Video Games

Tales of the Abyss
Tales of the Abyss (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My favorite game of all time is Tales of the Abyss by Namco Bandai. Tales games tend to be very character oriented. Each character has his/her own story arc and even quests pertaining to more story information–and these are quests you often want to do because the characters are already so compelling that you continuously want to know more about them. What I love most about Tales of the Abyss is that not only is there focus on the protagonists but even the antagonists have their own stories that make you really feel for them. This is common in Tales games, but is especially emphasized in Tales of the Abyss.

Tales games are the reason I began focusing on developing background stories for my antagonists. Tales of the Abyss, in fact, inspired me to do two short stories of two antagonists in When Stars Die. I hope to include those with the novel, if possible. The antagonists in the sequel have their own arcs as well, and they won’t be separate short stories but actually included within the novel. In books that deal heavily in gray areas, especially if it’s fantasy or paranormal or a similar genre, I appreciate it when my antagonists are as developed as my protagonists because it certainly solidifies that gray area, that idea that there is no real evil in this book, that it’s all subjective.

Video games for me have been a legitimate source of inspiration for my stories, especially  story-centric video games. The first Baten Kaitos (also by Namco Bandai) inspired a character concept in When Stars Die’s sequel. Zelda: Twilight Princess inspired a character in the sequel to WSD–unfortunately said character no longer exists, but he was compelling in his own right. Chrono Cross inspired an old novel of mine in the past, and I one day want to re-visit the concept when I have the time.

Video games have also helped to improve my storytelling skills. Video games once used to be about gameplay, but now gamers are demanding more and looking for stories as well. I think this is a great thing because it’s one more medium we writers can use to hone our skills. I analyze the stories in the video games I play. I analyze how the plot develops, how characters develop, how each part of the story is told. I am currently analyzing Ni No Kuni, and I love the concept so far. Shadar, an evil wizard, I presume, has the ability to break people’s hearts, and by doing so, these people often become depressed. So it’s up to little Oliver to restore people’s hearts by drawing from the essences of others who have plenty of heart to give. I find that concept fascinating because I can see it working in a novel, especially if Diana Wynne Jones were alive today to write such a novel. Granted, the video game elements would obviously have to be removed, but the story is very effective in its own right. I can see why the game is so popular.

If you’re a writer and a gamer, I say use that to your advantage. Really analyze the stories of the games you play. Allow yourself to draw inspiration from the games you play. And if you’re not a gamer, you should give gaming a shot. Not only is it fun, but it’s another story that you can collect in your life. Tales of the Abyss was a game I never wanted to end. The story for me was unbelievable.

Book Giveaway Poll

Book Giveaway Poll

Since all of you have been such loyal followers, I’m going to let you choose the book to be given away this week! Results will be tallied by the end of the day, and the new book giveaway will be posted tomorrow. Here are the five books: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, Wither by Laruen DeStefano, 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones, and The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. Here are the descriptions for each book:

A Great and Terrible Beauty: It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is
shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school
in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have
an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one.
To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a
man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her
entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the
spiritual world—lead to?

Wither:

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males born with a lifespan of 25 years, and females a lifespan of 20 years–leaving the world in a state of panic. Geneticists seek a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

When Rhine is sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Yet her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement; her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next; and Rhine has no way to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive.

Together with one of Linden’s servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?

13 Reasons Why: Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on
it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by
Hannah Baker – his classmate and crush – who committed suicide two weeks
earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she
decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.
Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He
becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and learns the truth about
himself-a truth he never wanted to face.

Charmed Life:  A bewitching comic fantasy by a master of the supernatural

Cat doesn’t mind living in the shadow of his sister, Gwendolen, the most promising young witch ever seen on Coven Street. But trouble starts brewing the moment the two orphans are summoned to live in Chrestomanci Castle. Frustrated that the witches of the castle refuse to acknowledge her talents, Gwendolen conjures up a scheme that could throw whole worlds out of whack.

The Looking Glass Wars: The Myth: Alice was an ordinary girl who stepped through the looking glass and entered a fairy-tale world invented by Lewis Carroll in his famous storybook. The Truth: Wonderland is real. Alyss Heart is the heir to the throne, until her murderous aunt Redd steals the crown and kills Alyss? parents. To escape Redd, Alyss and her bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, must flee to our world through the Pool of Tears. But in the pool Alyss and Hatter are separated. Lost and alone in Victorian London, Alyss is befriended by an aspiring author to whom she tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Yet he gets the story all wrong. Hatter Madigan knows the truth only too well, and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

All descriptions come from Amazon.