Discussionist: Video game stuff
posted on 07.31.13 at 10:12 AM EST by (@admeady)
Things about games that aren't games.

Today’s topic isn’t about video games themselves as such – not that software many of us indulge in – but the mediums which tap into video game culture and lore.

From the Resident Evil films – which, admittedly, are a guilty pleasure of mine – to Scott Pilgrim and the wonderful Sword Art Online, video games have since spanned far beyond their inherent forms.

So, we ask: what video game novels, films, bands – or whatever else – do you indulge in when not playing the games themselves? If you indulge in novels to understand your knowledge of a particular lore, what is it about that world, that universe, that compels you to do so?

Or perhaps you simply want to recommend something to others. Please, feel free to do so.

Let us know below, folks.

  • McPoo

    I do write Shadowrun erotica fanfic though. Based on the 360 game of course, none of this RPG bullshit.

    EDIT: Why are people down voting this? If you don’t want to read it, don’t. Jeeeeez

    • DichaTesoro

      Serious or not, I love your answer. Nothing wrong with it if it is.

      • McPoo

        As much as I love the feedback, I’m afraid it’s not true. The Shadowrun 360 game, as excellent as it is, is already quite light on plot. I’m neither good enough nor can I be arsed to write something from essentially nothing :p

        Maybe I’ll try a short story and dedicate it to you though ;)

        • DichaTesoro

          Do it and I’ll love you forever.

  • FitzpatrickPhillips

    Often when I beat a game, or haven’t played a game in a long time, I’ll read up on certain backstory stuff as much as possible. I’ve done this a lot with Resident Evil games where its just too time consuming to find all of the files. I like seeing characters motives that might not have been explained too far into detail in game.

    Stuff like this is excellent when you can read japanese, where you have light novels and stuff to expand – so I’m doubly glad that I learned it. Stuff like the Dangan Ronpa light novels really shed some light on its mysteries.

  • Zancrow

    Don’t get me started on the Resident Evil movies…
    I recently watched the last one, never saw so much bullshit in my whole life.

    • Nice Boat

      CGI or liveaction?

      • Zancrow

        live action.
        The CGI ones are meh to decent but the live action ones are an insult to anyone’s intelligence.

  • bldudas

    I sometimes read books if it’s for a game I really like. I also look up background information about games I really like.

  • MosquitoLemon

    I’ve had sort of a reverse-effect with the Gundam franchise. I was always into the VS series (starting with Fed. vs Zeon), but not into the actual show itself. Eventually I was like, “I want to know more about all these suits you can use, and those random pilots” and sat down and watched the original and Zeta Gundam. I’ve actually bought some of the plastic models based on the units I like to use in the games, as well.

    Honestly, it’s nice to have a little context for what the games are supposed to be representing (and it’s funny to hear the source material that the sound/voice samples were ripped from), but I think I’d be just as happy not having any clue what was what.

    I think with a lot of Japanese games, especially older games that don’t really have an expanded universe or detailed lore, there are always random characters that get really popular. It’s always fun to find out little tidbits about those characters, but I don’t see reading a full novel based on them (example – the data disks you can collect in Rockman & Forte had funny info on all of the robot masters).

    • HeatPhoenix

      I think in the VS games knowing the context and where the moves are from augments the experience by 300% or something. They’re already fantastic games but when you understand that WHY Gundam Alex gets up like that after getting knocked down… that’s the moment where you just go “WOOW This game is fantastic!”

      • MosquitoLemon

        I was speaking about the older games, but yeah, the newer ones (starting from Gundam VS Gundam) have a TON of fan-service. Like little things that only appeared in the show for about a split second of one episode are full blown moves that you can do over and over again…

        Though that might explain why I don’t like the newer games. I was a fan of the games before the cartoons, and the newer Gundam VS Gundam games tend to focus on the main pilots and suits and enemies. (and I know a lot of people argue this point, but consider this – Gundam vs Zeta had 55 units, while Gundam and Zeta only have 11 units between them in GvG Extreme VS).

        Yes, the detail they put into the different units is really cool, and the gameplay and overall balance is tighter than the older games, but I think I’d have more “WOW this game is fantastic!” moments if the rosters were more complete. Case in point, my favorite Gundam games are the SD G Generation titles.

        • HeatPhoenix

          G Generation Spirits being the most complete between them… every subsequent game lacks Powered GM.

          Anyway, Gundam Vs. Zeta Gundam is neat and all, but you can’t even begin to imagine my excitement when X-3 was announced to be the next time unlock. I think the Vs. game series is best for all-series crossovers. If you want completeness unit wise G Gen Zero/Spirits or the Gundam Senki (Lost War Chronicles and others) type of games would be better.

          • MosquitoLemon

            Yeah, but the Haro point thing slowed down Spirits sooooo much. G Gen F is probably my favorite (basically Spirits without CE stuff), though I enjoy the newer ones because they play quicker. F (the more complete sequel to Zero, but predecessor to Spirits) was my first game post-watching Gundam and led me to watch X and Turn A.

            • HeatPhoenix

              The Haro point thing did motivate players to replay stages unlike later games. Wars and up are just so very easy, actually, so is Spirits. And I prefer Zero because it’s just so complete, just like Spirits. It has everything that is in UC, I’d rather have a Gundam game that does everything for one particular subject than tries doing half of everything.

              Zero was complete, just not for AUs (except little bonus stages for the main Gundams and common enemies per show (G, X and W).

              • MosquitoLemon

                Yeah, if you haven’t, play F. It’s basically the same game as Zero, but includes some extra stuff (like a few stages for Turn A, as well as all the units). There was a bonus disc with a VS mode and encyclopedia as well (called F if… I think?)

                • HeatPhoenix

                  VS mode!? I’m interested.

                  • MosquitoLemon

                    Yeah, basically you set a funding amount and select a faction (Zeon, Fed, Titans, etc.), and each player gets to choose their own units (based on how many funds you selected at the beginning). Then you just have at it on a random map. Don’t remember the details, but very sad that it has been omitted from every (?) game since.

  • 罪罰

    I tend to avoid novels/movies about videogames, I once read a Resident Evil book because, honestly.. I was a kid and thought that zombies were cool and that Resident Evil had good story becuz zombis. Thinking back I was a really stupid kid, but I still really like RE 2 BUT those books.. are fucking garbage and then came those awful movies.

    The only little exception I’ll mention is the Phoenix Wright movie that a little exaggerated in some areas it was still the best videogame movie I’ve seen.

    That’s the only series that I can honestly and without a doubt can say it has a splendid story and a fantastic cast of characters. I’d love to read the manga and I wish it had an anime.

    P.S. Trials and Tribulations is still the best videogame ending of all time.

  • McPoo

    The Prof Layton film is kinda cool

  • HeatPhoenix

    Sword Art Online?
    Wonderful?

    Haha, okay. Next you’re going to say that Accel World was well written, right?

    • McPoo

      You and me must be the only 2 people on here that realise how crap anime is!

      #buddyup

      • HeatPhoenix

        Hey now, I like some anime. FLCL is my favorite piece of animation ever made whereas Mobile Suit Gundam is extremely well written and meaningful in concept.

        However, SAO and AW are both pandering and banal anime made for the masses, and it’s making loads emone.

        • KnifeAndFork

          I like Legend of Galactic Heroes

          • HeatPhoenix

            You are a man of good taste.

            • KnifeAndFork

              and good looks

    • Adam Meadows

      I happen to enjoy it, yeah. As someone who played a lot of FF11, it’s nice to see something that captures some of that. I just thought it was fun to watch.

      • HeatPhoenix

        And you are entitled to your opinion, my friend.

      • McPoo

        I too love Final Fight 11

  • Pyrofrost

    So, who remembers this as a kid:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_k43xdmAc3A

  • Tetsu

    Video Game Music.
    By far and large my number one indulgence beyond the medium.
    Whether it be soundtracks or remixes, tributes or arrange-albums, I spend an abundant amount of time listening to old and new game music.

    Past that I do enjoy stuff like you say, .hack// etc.

    • MosquitoLemon

      That actually reminds me, I loved the Radirgy soundtrack so much that I wanted to know more about the game as a result, hahah. It’s one of the few titles that I wish had a more expanded lore.

  • MosquitoLemon

    Come to think of it, the one series that I would digest absolutely ever little scrap of info on is Rival Schools. Udon was actually supposed to illustrate an RPG sourcebook for the series, but it never came to fruition :(

  • PrinceHeir

    after watching Ghost in the Shell Movies(Original Version+ 2.0 and Innocence)

    i really wish we had games that have subtly way of telling a story.

    not even Metal Gear Solid, Deus Ex(as much as i love these games) can even get near the sheer details of Ghost in the Shell without convoluting themselves.

    here are my impressions of it as well as differences between Original and 2.0 movie

    MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR SPOILERS SPOILERS

    Ghost in the Shell

    http://myanimelist.net/forum/?topicid=65095&show=40#msg23941133

    Ghost in the Shell 2.0

    http://myanimelist.net/forum/?topicid=34221&show=20#msg23730427

    Innocence

    http://myanimelist.net/forum/?topicid=37343&show=20#msg23772893

    i also have Arise, i’ll watch it together with Arise 2 this Fall.

    shame about the change of voice actors :(

    i don’t mind Maaya Sakomoto as Major, but why you gotta replace the other casts :(

    Batou is Akio Otsuka FOREVER :P

  • PrinceHeir

    my brother is reading Berserk manga and is wondering why they haven’t made a proper game since the PS2 one?

    i think Dragon’s Dogma was the closest one

    • Zancrow

      Totally. ^^
      Or Demon’s/Dark Souls.

      • PrinceHeir

        definitely!!

        they should make a armor on Dark Souls II or Demons Souls 2(if they made one)

  • almostautumn

    Not so much novels anymore, but I did like the RE novels by S.E. Perry when I was growing up. I actually still read the original novel of RE about once or twice a year; it isn’t that it’s so “great” via literature, but it certainly captures all the excitement and images from the original RE, and I just always have a good time reading it.
    I tried to get into Killzone by reading the KZ3 novel— except it’s literally just what happens in the game. I was really confused; I mean, it’s 100% the game, except you’re reading it instead of playing it. With a world as unique and political as KZ, they really blew the opportunity to expand on it there.

    I like art-books too, but really I don’t have the money to pay for them. I have the 3 Valkyria Chronicles books, a big ol’ Megaman one, and the first KYMG. I’d like to pick up some more of them but really— I mean, whenever something costs as much as a videogame, I’d really rather just go buy a game.

  • Marco Tinè

    I think artbooks and soundtracks are the best contribution to entertainment that the gaming industry can produce, aside from games themselves. Usually, I find myself disappointed by any other “universe expanding” operations, books included: when I want context, I resort to play other episodes in the same series firsthand, or watching them on Youtube when I ain’t got enough time (passive fruition can be particularly insightful in some cases).

    • jujubee88

      Do you like a lot of Persona related stuffs?

      • Marco Tinè

        Yes, I really like Atlus’ material, they have fantastic artists. And I love Basiscape, the Sakimoto/Iwata duo in particular :)

  • DesmaX

    Well, I did try to watch some Anime based on games… But they weren’t that good. But I guess the Valkyria Chronicles one is not that bad.

    But, to be fair, I sure love me some VGM’s (Honestly, the only type of music I care nowadays). I can expend days just searching in forums for that certain game that just got released.

  • DichaTesoro

    It’s soundtracks for me. The music is the one thing I remember most about videogames from when I was a kid to now. I try to buy (either CDs or MP3s) whenever I can or try to find free music online, and I love finding remixes. The Overclock remix albums are some of my favorites to listen to at the moment. I even listen to soundtracks from games I’ve not played before. It’s weird when people ask what kind of music I listen to, lots of soundtracks I’ll say and when I say for videogames they think it’s like electronic music.

    • McPoo

      I’ve got tons of video game music on my iPod too. Some of it really is fantastic. I find a lot of it to be good music to read to as welll

      • DichaTesoro

        I was reading a book today on while on the city bus, listening to the Witcher 2 soundtrack. The soundtrack is beautiful but not loud enough to block out some chatty girls next to me.

        About half, or even a little more, of the music on my MP3 player is video game related at this point. I need more Uematsu.

        • McPoo

          You should’ve invited her to listen to your music. I have faith in you!

          #GeMATEsu

          • DichaTesoro

            Ah, spreading love and happiness through video game music throughout the city bus.
            Don’t give me any ideas, it’s a boring ride.

            • McPoo

              It’s either that or sit at the back drinking liquor from a brown bag, shouting at pigeons on the pavement outside.

              I know which I’d prefer to do (I hate pigeons!)

  • kenshee

    Well, aside from the music and anime like SAO and .hack, I guess atm my answer would be books.
    To be more specific: books that games were based on. ( I’m not really sure as to how rare of an occurrence that is though)

    I just read “the last wish”, the first book related to the witcher games.
    I don’t normally read, but I finished this one two days after I got it. (which for me, is the most/fastest I’ve ever read voluntarily)
    Desperately waiting for the next two books I bought off of amazon to arrive ^^ (got them along with a pre-order of tales of xillia, I thought I wanted the free shipping and I could wait a few weeks… I was wrong and I regret it now XD)

    I find books a lot more interesting if some visuals are already imprinted into my mind by other media. Like with the witcher, I imagine Geralt’s voice whenever he has a line and I can very clearly imagine his medallion when it is mentioned. I also know how he and dandilion look, it’s things like this that usually put me off of books. I don’t have the imagination to make descriptions as effective as they should be, so I basically need a visual. (I do very much like reading manga and visual novels, but I lose interest when a scene or character’s appearance is being described in actual books…)

  • Nice Boat

    I hated the Resident Evil movies but the CGI films were another story. The only problem I found is that Leon was the protagonist of both films. Claire was in Degeneration one but she was overshadowed. In such movie Leon was like a robot but recovered his charisma in Damnation. While Degeneration reminded me of RE2 and RE4, Damnation had more overthetop action ala RE6.

    About Metal Gear the comics have some weird artwork that make everyone looked years older. The story is similar to the original material but they came up with lots of changes. The novels had more bizarre characterization such as Solid Snake as he murdered enemies like nothing and yelled “Merry Christmas!” once. One good thing about the MGS2 novel was that they added a scene that was removed from the game due to similarities with 911.

    What else do I like? King of Fighters. I once read the Chinese comics but… They weren’t very entertaining although I enjoyed some freedom the writers took. There was a manga titled KOF Kyo that was far more interesting but it was full of cliches. Don’t make me bring up the live action.

    Street Fighter had the liveaction… The cartoon… But I liked SFIIV.

    Finally, there is a manga prequel to Devil May Cry 3 that I really enjoyed. A DMC4 novel expanded the game’s story kind of confirming where did Nero come from, his relationship with Vergil, and Dante’s true objective. The Persona 4 anime was fun but there are some mixed reactions too.