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Video Games

Best Video Game Writing of 2011

For the fifth year in a row, the Writers Guild of America, West and the Writers Guild of America, East will celebrate video game writing at their annual awards ceremony.

Below, we’ve listed to all the nominees in the Outstanding Achievement in Video Game Writing category. 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.

The winners will all be revealed on February 19, 2012 at simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York. Here’s more about the awards: “Credited videogame writers must have been or must have applied to become members of the WGA Videogame Writers Caucus at the time scripts were submitted. Work that was not produced under WGA jurisdiction was also eligible for submission.”

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Scholastic to Launch Book Series & Online Game

Scholastic’s seven-book Infinity Ring series will launch alongside an interactive gaming website next year. The books and website, aimed at readers ages 8 to 12, will feature an “alternate-history time travel” storyline.

The new series will be written by six children’s authors, including zombie novelist Carrie Ryan, fantasy writer Lisa McMann, YA lit writer Matt de la Peña, historical fiction novelist Matthew J. Kirby, middle grade author Jennifer A. Nielsen and The Maze Runner trilogy author James Dashner. Dashner will write the first book (A Mutiny in Time) and the not-yet-titled final book.

Both the Infinity Ring website and A Mutiny in Time will be released simultaneously in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada starting September 2012. The final book will be published in March 2014.

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Twilight as an 8-Bit Nintendo Video Game

What if Stephenie Meyer had published her Twilight in the mid-1980s? We would have all grown up playing the 8-Bit Nintendo video game version of the movie!

In the satirical YouTube video embedded above, you can see a clip from a Twilight: Eclipse video game from this alternate universe. What do you think?

Here’s more from the YouTube page: “Will Bella end up with Edward or Jacob? Find out in Twilight: Eclipse in this 8-Bit Interactive! Created by The Station Written, Directed and Executive Produced by Benny & Rafi Fine.” (Via Figment)

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Jane Austen Stars in ‘Word Fighter’ Video Game

Pride & Prejudice author Jane Austen stars in a new video game called “Word Fighter.” The video embedded above shows two characters from the game, J.D. “The Hero” (an orphan scholar) and Neil “The Rival” (an ivy league graduate student).

According to Pixels, Panels & Playthings, the game’s developers were influenced by Princess Peach Toadstool (from the Super Mario Bros. franchise). Jane “appears to be a very prim and proper lady … but when it’s time to throw down, she’s ready to destroy you.” The game will be available for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Android devices.

Here’s more from the article: “Inspired by Boggle, Scrabble, Words With Friends and Super Puzzle Fighter, the object of the game is for players, as famous authors personified by their literary works, to spell words quickly on separate tile grids. The better the word — based on length and letter value — the more damage you do to your opponent. Special power-ups like attack multipliers and tile shufflers are added to the mix, so it can be anybody’s game.”

L.A. Noire Video Game Gets Mulholland Books Anthology

Rockstar Games and Little, Brown and Company imprint Mulholland Books have teamed up to publish a short story collection exploring the world of the upcoming video game, L.A. Noire. Above, we’ve embedded the game’s trailer.

While only some of the stories are actually set inside the video game world, the collection includes stories by Megan Abbott, Lawrence Block, Joe Lansdale, Joyce Carol Oates, Francine Prose, Jonathan Santlofer, Duane Swierczynski and Andrew Vachss L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories will be released on June 6th as an eBook at all the major eBookstores.

Little, Brown and Company publisher Michael Pietsch had this statement: “We are thrilled to be embarking on a creative partnership with the team at Rockstar Games … The possibilities for cross-promotions of this nature, encouraging gamers to read and readers to play games are huge. We’re looking forward to a new frontier of book publishing possibilities and see Rockstar as an ideal partner.”

Waiting for Godot Video Game

Last June, Vector Belly released a video game version of Samuel Beckett‘s classic tragicomedy, Waiting for Godot. As you can see by the video embedded above, the game evokes the surreal inactivity of the source material.

In addition, The Washington Post has uncovered more details about The Great Gatsby Nintendo game we linked to last week. Allegedly discovered at a yard sale, the four-level video game features 8-bit graphics and tinny soundtrack.

Here’s more from the article: “The San Francisco developer, Charlie Hoey, actually created, coded and published the game with the help of his friend Pete Smith as a tribute to their nostalgic love of old NES games. The duo started working on the game almost a year ago, beginning with the iconic Gatsby cover.” (Via Andrew Sullivan)

The Great Gatsby Nintendo Game

Some brilliant artists have re-imagined F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s The Great Gatsby as a Nintendo game from the late 1980s. Above, we’ve embedded a screen-shot from the crazy project.

Follow this link to play the game (complete with 8-bit graphics and tinny soundtrack). According to the website, this wonderful bit of fan fiction was discovered at a yard sale. We are a bit skeptical about this creation myth, but it is a lovely piece of fan fiction.

Here’s more from the site: “If anybody has more info about this please let me know ! As it is, I really don’t know much about this game. I found it at a yard sale. I bought it for 50 cents and went home to try it out. After dusting off my NES for like, 20 minutes I got it working, and jesus. So weird. Apparently it’s an unreleased localization of a Japanese cart called “Doki Doki Toshokan: Gatsby no Monogatari”, but I haven’t found anything about that either. What’s left of the manual was just rubberbanded to the cartridge. I finally scanned them.” (Via io9)

Should Junot Diaz Voice a ‘Comedy Shooter’ Video Game?

The NY Observer just profiled writers attempting to break into the lucrative video game market. The article featured journalist Tom Bissell (author of Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter) talking about a shooter game project he dreamed up with his partner.

We would love to play this: “[They] have been shopping around a ‘comedy shooter,’ complete with mission and design documents, which detail gameplay, and concept art. They’ve been kicking around the idea of asking Junot Diaz to voice the main character, because Mr. Bissell is fond of the nerd-friendly author’s performances at readings.”

The story included interviews with novelist Alex Garland and journalist N’Gai Croal about the genre. Garland offered the frank assessment that “it’s bloody difficult” to break into the industry. If you want to read more, check out our How to Write for Video Games feature.

The Hamlet Video Game That Time Forgot

To play video games or not to play video games? In 1997, EMME Interactive SA released Hamlet: A Murder Mystery video game (box pictured, click to enlarge).

The video game extended the plot of William Shakespeare‘s Hamlet, a tie-in with Kenneth Branagh‘s adaptation of the classic tragedy. Did anybody play this game? We’d love to hear your story.

Here’s an excerpt from MobyGames: “As Young Hamlet, you must avenge the terrible murder of your father and become the new King of Denmark. Use cunning, courage and nerves of steel to survive five levels of gameplay and win the crown in a last and vicious sabre duel in cyber space. Become ‘whole and complete’ in body and spirit by collecting all ten wits of man. Your task is to kill the King, but prevent the deaths of the innocent!” (Via Mike Cane)

Video Games Top Amazon Kindle Store’s Free “Bestseller” List

51hj3wHDduL._SS400_.jpgWhat are people reading on the Kindle today? The number one and number two spots on Amazon’s coveted Top 100 Free list were occupied by video games today (as of this 3:23 pm EST writing).

What do you think this means for the future of reading? Last week we reported that Kindle Store added two free video games for the eReader, both designed by Amazon’s digital team.

Currently, the number one slot is held by Every Word (pictured) and the number two slot is held by Shuffled Row–both work like Scrabble on speed. eBookNewser has all the details.

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