Caption: Shakespeare was one of the classic playwrights to mention games in his works
Gaming in Pakistan is taking off, with mobile games, in particular, capturing the imaginations of large swathes of the population as the country’s technology infrastructure slowly starts to improve.
Unfortunately, that has not always converted into great novels being written about games, with challenges of such literary genre scaring most professional authors away.
So in this piece, we track down those novels, and some stage plays, which will satisfy even the most ardent gamers among you.
Classics That Got the Ball, Or Should We Say the Dice, Rolling
Whenever considering a literary genre, it is important to go back in time, to study the works of those artists who got the ball rolling and provided inspiration for the generations of authors that came after (or what is known in the business of books as, the canon).
The Egyptian game Senet or the Mesopotamian Royal Game of Ur are mentioned in ancient scriptures and carvings that date back thousands of years.
Many centuries later, Shakespeare mentioned the board game called Nine Men’s Morris in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and it was around the same time in the 16th century that Spanish literary genius Cervantes told of a game named Trente-un, that appears in his book Rinconete and Cortadillo, and which is thought to be the precursor to another game called Bone Ace, a predecessor of blackjack as we know it today. Other notable classical authors who harnessed the appeal of games in their widely read works of fiction include William Wordsworth, Jane Austin, Ivan Turgenev, Leo Tolstoy, and Henry James.
Caption: How many books have you read in the last 12 months?
Dystopian Sci-Fi Leads the Way for Gamers
While authors of the past were naturally drawn to board and card games, modern scribes have tended to be lured into writing about video games, with differing levels of success. This is because the world of video games can often lead writers down rabbit holes that they find it hard to escape from, resulting in quite turgid fiction.
However, there are some great exceptions to this rule. One of these is Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which is set in 2045 in a world on the verge of climate, economic, and social collapse. The human population escapes this stark existence by absconding to a virtual reality dream world called the OASIS.
The novel is rife with references to existing popular games such as Dungeons & Dragons. The novel has also even begun to influence how future video games are made, with developers at places like Oculus VR encouraging all their staff to read the book for inspiration.
The book has since been transformed into a Steven Spielberg movie of the same name, which is about to have its sequel released at the end of 2020.
A completely different take on the idea of a novel based around a video game is to have the game’s coding embedded in the novel itself. Sound wacky? Well, that is what Jason Rekulak did in The Impossible Fortress and the book is not too shabby either.
Literary Novels that Dared to go Digital
Most novels about computer games tend to be lumped into the category of Sci-Fi or speculative fiction due to their pop culture references, snappy dialogue, and speedy plotting, but there are some literary novels that have also dared to take the plunge into the online sphere.
Some good recent ones were The Nix by Nathan Hill, which draws heavily on elements of the World of Warcraft series, and Richard Powers’ Plowing the Dark that mentions one of the computer industry’s most influential and iconic games, Adventure, a seminal title made brought inspiration for one of the first-generation Atari systems that revolutionized the world of entertainment.
So, there you have it. It is now time to head to your local bookstore to search out some of these entertaining tomes and get busy reading them to understand the history of gaming at a deeper level.