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Video Games

Tools for Video Game Writers

Do you want to explore the world of video game writing?

Developer Kent Hudson will soon publish his independent video game, The Novelist (trailer embedded above). We caught up with Hudson, getting some advice for aspiring video game writers:

If someone was looking to experiment with games, there is a free tool called Twine. It basically is a story tree. It is presented as a web page, so you can create little HTML stories. You can give the player as many choices as you want: Do you open the letter? Do you walk out the door? You can create however many branches you want. They pick one, and go to a new branch. When you are using the tool, it is actually visually mapped out. It’s really easy, simple and cheap to use.

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Mediabistro Course

Memoir Writing

Memoir WritingStarting January 7, work with a published memoir writer to tell and sell the story of your life! In this course, Wendy Dale will teach you how to create your story around a marketable premise, hone your narrative voice, write a memoir with a solid structure, and sell your memoir before you've even finished writing it. Register now!

Thomas Pynchon & Grand Theft Auto V in the Same Review


Grand Theft Auto V counted $1 billion in sales during the first three days of release, drawing headlines for its infamous digital mayhem.

The video game also has a complex story and social satire wrapped inside the violent plot, as critic Christopher Byrd pointed out in his essay, “Should Thomas Pynchon play Grand Theft Auto V?” Here’s an excerpt comparing the social satire between the game and Thomas Pynchon‘s new novel:

 Like “Bleeding Edge,” GTA V devotes much of its satire to calling out our technological passions. (As Pam Grier, who appears as one of the radio hosts in the game, puts it, “Music ain’t ever gonna stop making people happy, and technology ain’t gonna ever stop making people boring.”) Such as micro-blogging: “Bleeter is the perfect storm of blogging, social networking, and text messaging. We’re demolishing 100,000 years of complex linguistic development 140 characters at a time.”

‘The Novelist’ Video Game Looks at Writing Life

How do you balance your creative life and your family life? An unexpected video game will help players around the world confront that problem.

We’ve embedded the trailer for The Novelist below–what do you think? Developer Kent Hudson spent over ten years working on major video game releases like Deus Ex: Invisible War and BioShock 2, but felt “creatively restless.” Nearly two years ago, he left work and started an indie video game. Here’s more about the game:

The desire for relatable, universal subject matter led to its focus on a single family. During its development, the concept began to hit closer and closer to home; as months passed and the challenges of independent development made themselves known, Kent faced scenarios eerily similar to those he was creating in the game. Can a person follow their dreams while remaining connected to those they love?

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Ms. Pac-Man Co-Creator Applauds Library Use of His Game

One of the co-creators of Ms. Pac-Man reached out to librarian Justin Hoenke, cheering his use of a classic arcade game in the library.

Chattanooga Public Library teen librarian Hoenke installed a Ms. Pac-Man arcade machine in his library, building a sense of community play inside the library. Steve Golson helped create Ms. Pac-Man in the 1980s and wrote this email message to Hoenke:

I just found out about your Ms. Pac-Man at your library. Outstanding idea! I was one of the designers of Ms. Pac-Man. Wow, that was a loooong time ago. Keep up the great work with the teens.

Ms. Pac Man in the Library

Do video games have a place at the library?

Chattanooga Public Library teen librarian Justin Hoenke installed a Ms. Pac-Man arcade machine in his library, building a sense of community play inside the library. Over at Medium, he wrote an inspiring essay about why he made this unexpected choice. Check it out:

Our 2nd Floor is currently in the middle of a major renovation and shift in thinking about how we provide service to our community. For us, it’s not so much about the stuff we have but the connections and memories we make. The 2nd Floor is a community hub for ages 0-18, a place where kids, tweens, and teens in the community can come to learn, relax, have fun, connect, and more. Ms. Pac Man fits in pretty nicely with this theme. Since we got Ms. Pac Man, groups of teens have started to hang around the machine, doing their best to top one another in high score contests. There are eruptions of the happiness every time a player pulls off an impressive move or evades one of those pesky ghosts.

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Neil Gaiman Writes a Video Game

Author Neil Gaiman has written his first video game, Wayward Manor. We’ve embedded a video introduction to the game above, guided by Gaiman himself.

Inspired by classic films like Arsenic and Old LaceBlithe Spirit and The Man Who Came To Dinner, the game will come out this fall. Here’s more about the game:

Set in a 1920s Victorian Gothic pastoral estate, Wayward Manor focuses on the plight of a ghost whose hope of a peaceful after-life is interrupted by a remarkable cast of intruders. Awoken from his post-mortem slumbers, our ghost must find ever-more inventive and brilliant ways to scare them away. As the ghost learns more about the living characters, he also learns more about his own death and after-life, and the danger they are all facing.

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Video Game Writing Advice from an Industry Veteran

Ever wish you could write for the video game industry?

A veteran video game writer shared some advice and experience with an aspiring writer on Reddit. We’ve collected some useful bits below, but you should read the complete post.  Here’s an excerpt about finding jobs:

All my jobs have been through contacts I’ve picked up as I’ve worked – a sound designer moves on to a different studio, and calls when he finds himself wading through bad dialogue, or a producer I’ve worked with refers me to a colleague. I’ve never once gotten a cold call, or made one.

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Play Great Gatsby Video Game & Donate Books

Over at Out of Print, you can play The Great Gatsby video game and donate books at the same time.

Follow this link to play. For every player that reaches a score of 25,000 on the game, Out of Print will donate one book. So far, 280 books have already been donated.

Back in 2011, Charlie Hoey and Peter Malamud Smith created the video game, turning the famous novel into a Nintendo-era video game.


The Grim Fandango Novel

Back in 1998, did you play the novelistic video game Grim Fandango? Disney shuttered LucasArts yesterday, closing the storied video game studio that created one of the best video games that this GalleyCat editor ever played.

You can watch the trailer for the game (embedded above) written by Tim Schafer or visit the Grim Fandango fan site for more information. One dedicated video game player actually wrote an entire novel based on the video game. Download the Grim Fandango novel at this link:

First appearing in installments on the now-defunct website Glottis’ Garage, the Grim Fandango novel by MeddlingMonk was initially well received. Although still sought after, it has become increasingly hard to find. Now, a thorough revision of the novel has been completed to be hosted here. Many plot points are developed more fully and the entire text has been tweaked to become more textured, more adult. If the game was intended to reflect film noir, then the novel is meant to key off of the writings of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald. Although adapted from an episodic game, the Grim Fandango novel presents a continuous story, filling in the gaps using hints from the game itself (including unused elements found in the game’s data) or by using reasonable extrapolations.

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‘Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation’ Wins Writers Guild of America’s Video Game Writing Award

Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation has won this year’s award for Outstanding Achievement in Video Game Writing from the Writers Guild of America, West and the Writers Guild of America, East.

Below, we’ve listed to all the nominees both categories. You can follow the links below to explore gameplay videos on YouTube–a chance to watch the games unfold in a series of fan-made videos.

Jack in a Box won the Outstanding Achievement in Writing Original New Media Award. You can also follow the links below to watch the Guild’s nominees for the best web video writing, another new frontier for writers.

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