Video Game Novels Suck (Especially Their Sex Scenes)

Video Game Novels Suck (Especially Their Sex Scenes)

There have been novels based on video games for as long as there have been video games. Thing is, you could probably count the number of good ones on one hand. Pity writer Richard Cobbett, then, who spent the last week reading some of the very worst of them.

He's recorded the torment on his blog, and let's just say it makes me glad I'm me and not him. Becsuse here's an excerpt from the novelization (not to be confused with the comic adaptation) of, yes, Doom. It's heavy on inner monologues:

That was all that kept racing through my head, screaming the word over and over again between my ears… zombie, zombie, zombie! What utter shit. Maybe Arlene could believe in all that crap and bullroar; she watched those damned, damned horror movies all the — I wasn't never going to watch anything like… a freakin' zombie? I was crazy, buggin', freaked like some hippie punk snot flying on belladonna.

And here are the horrors of a Baldur's Gate 2 sex scene:

When their tongues met there was no going back for Abdel. His eyes burned in his head and he surrendered to the strange woman's rhythms the same way he surrendered to the clanging-steel rhythms of an opponent. They came together in the same kind of hesitant, exploratory dance of two swordsmen parrying blows and searching for weaknesses and openings.

I can't go on, and that's just the excerpts. If you want to see what else Cobbett subjected himself to, check them out here. But be warned: one report involves a book called "Mirthful Kombat".

To get the taste of a strange woman's rhythms out of our mouths, let's instead list below some of the better gaming novels we've read. I know some of the Halo ones are OK. I also know I loved the Metal Gear adaptation as a kid, but that might mostly be because of the cover.

Book Week [Richard Cobbett]


Comments

    Halo's were done quite well. At least, that was what I thought.

      I remember Fall of Reach being pretty good.

        I generally don't read novels based on pre-existing IPs but I did check out the Reach one years ago. I hate to put on my 'lit snob' hat, but I've been a bookworm longer than I've been playing games and those novels were badly-written, sub-YA material filled with Gary Stus and buffoonish lore.

        The only reason why these video game books are bought and read, is because they're based upon characters and worlds that fans are already care about. If they were forced to stand on their own two legs, they'll be on the bottom shelf in the off-off-fantasy section, next to Kevin J Anderson's umpteenth Dune prequel and Revenge of the Dwarves.

        I recommend reading it again. I used to think Matthew Reilly was the bomb as a kid because he basically wrote action movie screenplays even kids could understand... they haven't aged well.

      most of the Halo books were amazing, you are quite right, Contact harvest is in my opinion the weakest but even then it was still a good read.

    First 3 Mass Effect novels were pretty good... never read the last one but heard it was pretty bad.

      That Mass Effect ones are great, really suiting the game/universe.

      I tried reading the Assassin's Creed ones but struggled BIG time.

      BOOK 4 ...
      i.e. the book that shall not be named. The one that somehow Drew Karpyshyn wasn't asked to continue after book 3, and they handed over to William Dietz who just rewrote huge sections from the game plot he didn't like.

      it did spawn a pretty hilarious angst comic that summarises all of the absurd plot points. and brings up the infamous cereal killer ... kai leng.

      From Neogaf's LumpofCole http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=462110
      and the gallery, at imgur http://imgur.com/a/lAVji/layout/horizontal#0

        Don't like Dietz's work. He wrote the novelisation of Halo CE, which followed the plot of the game, and it was terrible.

    I loved the Doom novels growing up. :(

      Same. They were goofy and completely departed from the Doom lore after the second book but they were fun.

        Very fun, and awesome. And fucking odd in the last two, but hey, id has done far worse to the IP.

        I had serious issues getting the last book in the series when it was released. Took a couple of years for some reason.

    The first couple of Doom novels (including the one pictured above) were fantastic, the third and fourth moved away from the plot, but were still well written.

    Knee Deep in the Dead is my most read novel of all time, there really wasn't a better way to en capture Doom in book form... I think it deserves more credit, it managed to give a name and a personality to 'Doom Guy' and I loved reading it.

    The first Starcraft Novel was fantastic. Gears of War books were quite good. Halo novels too. Splinter Cell was awesome.

    I enjoyed the Mass Effect books. And the comics.

    Yeah, the Mass Effect novels were well done I thought! Also, I loved the BF3 novel by Andy McNab was awesome, and it actually benefited BF3's campaign in my opinion!

    I have only read 1 but i really loved the Assassins creed novel that was linked with number 3. Been trying to get the others but i have that many books i need to read it may be a while before i get to them.

    I read the first two Doom books back in high school, and I still own all four but I never bothered to read the last two. The second one was bizarre enough.

    That said, the Doom 3 novels were ok. Not spectacular, but at least they were still about shooting demons on Mars by the end.

    I read the novelisation of Metal Gear when I was younger and thought it was pretty good.
    I was maybe 10 though, so it might not have actually been that great.

    No, no they don't. But good job on reinforcing the notion that reading is a waste of time.

    The Metal Gear Solid and Deus Ex novels were quite good.

    A good number of the Blizzard novels are pretty good.

    Also really enjoyed the Bioshock novel (even though Infinite made it not-cannon.)

    Homefront was another good one, actually.

      The Blizzard novels are high on Mary Sue characters (Rhonin, I'm looking squarely at you), but still come across as quick and easy reads that draw heavily on the games they're based on. I don't mind going back to re-read The Last Guardian from time to time, as it's a fairly serviceable prequel/lead-in to Warcraft 3's story and fleshes out a little bit of the backstory to the Karazhan raid.

      Now I feel like re-subbing and running that again. Damnit.

        Ugh, Rhonin was terrible. The worst book I've ever read was Night of the Dragon. Never before had I actually wanted to return a book.

        Most of Goldens, however, are pretty good.

        Last edited 12/08/14 2:15 am

    the Dragon Age novels are really good, they are written by David Gaider who wrote Baldur's Gate 2(not the novel) and other games (including Dragon Age).

    Last edited 11/08/14 4:05 pm

    Read the in game novels in both metal gear solid 1 & 2, mgs1 had the novels of its prequels, while mgs2 had 2 novels pertaining to mgs in game, all of them interesting, plus the forerunner triolgy that parraelled with the release of halo 4 is also interesting, with very good ways of handling a lot of plot twists, plus it shows how bungie are at it with the latest research of early humans. But the tom clancy games are games that you need to first read the novel of.

    Bioshock's was interesting, although it felt like it rushed the story, especially toward the end.

    Assassin's Creeds aren't bad, but they are actually step-by-step replays of the games - to the point where you can almost pick the button to press with each description :D

    The legend of Zelda: Choose your own adventure books were AWESOME. At least, that's how i remember them.
    http://zeldawiki.org/Nintendo_Adventure_Books

    The Crysis 2 novel was actually pretty good and demonstrated the themes of the game far more clearly and effectively than the game. The Gears of War novels are quite good too.

    Not so much based on a game, but on a franchise that included video games - the BattleTech novels were pretty awesome.

    If you're a fan of Gears of War I would absolutely recommend all the books (save The Slab, or whatever it's called, as I haven't gotten around to it, but apparently it answers some big questions). Karen Traviss did a good job with those, I felt.

    The only downside is you'll get attached to characters only for them to not appear at all, or have incredibly minor roles, or die without a word. Burnie was great in the books and I appreciated her appearance in GOW3, but she almost seemed unimportant. And then there's the Captain of the ship who is a pretty cool guy, and then he dies at the start of 3 without so much as a character model. Felt bad, man.

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    The Elder Scroll books are a good read. Expected to be disappointed by them being a game spin off, plus the large amount of content to contend with from the game. But was pleased to find I enjoyed them enough I couldn't put the books down,

    Hey, the Doom novelisations are brilliant works of so-bad-its-good fiction. They do pale in comparison to glorious absurdity of the comic book though.

    Sure you've almost certainly seen it before, but lets face it - you're still going to click this and you're still going to like it.
    http://www.doomworld.com/10years/doomcomic/comic.php

    The trilogy written for Hellgate: London were good.
    I've read a couple of Baldur's Gate & Warhammer based books that were passable (but could easily be passed over)

    Dead Space Martyr's a'ight. Good setting, good story, really good tension, horrifically slow in the middle. Surprising ending.

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