Video games present a real problem for me. On the one hand, they offer hours of entertainment which far surpasses what I get from movies or TV because of the interactivity. Distracting, yes, but doggone it, they’re fun.
Is fan fiction the solution?
Well, no. Of course not.
Any serious writer can’t do fan fiction without first changing the characters, and then the setting, at least enough to be unique, and then the story line and maybe the backstory a bit. And once all that’s done, voila! You get 50 Shades of Grey, a Twilight pr0n mutant which makes the author wildly rich.
Hm. Maybe they’re onto something there.
At any rate, if I do write any fan fiction, it would have to be for a really strong franchise. And in the last two years, I’ve discovered just the right things to spark those imaginings in the video game market.
First, The Last of Us. I’m not a zombie fan, by any means. I haven’t ever liked them, which sort of makes me an oddity nowadays. But part of that might be because I simply couldn’t get behind the characters or the causality of a zombie apocalypse before.
The Last of Us changed all that. I loved that story. Gritty, gripping, intense. Amazing.
Mass Effect too. Loved that story. A hero on an epic journey to stop an unstoppable enemy, armed with lots of guns, bullets, friends, and a singular confidence that they will succeed where others before them have failed. And in the end, you, the player, have the choices, the decisions, in your grasp to affect how the game ends, ultimately. (The trilogy’s end depends on you.)
Does a writer then honor or pirate those franchises with fan fiction?
If you stop and think about it, all the novels in any franchise are nothing more than fan-fic. Star Trek has hundreds of novels in its universe, but the owners of the franchise choose who writes the fan-fic. The stories are approved.
But fan fiction written in the vein of 50 Shades of Grey kind of sits wrong with me. It’s almost like stealing, in a way. So I’m sure I’d be happy to be commissioned to write for Mass Effect or for Destiny, but I’d never do anything without their blessing. Or, y’know…money.
But that’s me. I’ve learned that a lot of talent and great ideas goes into writing video games (yeah, I know – well, duh moment). And the stories can be gripping and immersive. Destiny is less immersive than say Mass Effect, but it’s still very engaging. And of course the artwork surrounding those wonderful ideas helps bring it to life, which is also inspiring.
If I ever write fan fiction for my favorite video games, it won’t be public view. I’ll do it somewhere like fanfiction.net, where that sort of thing is welcome, and I’ll do it under a pen name so no one knows it’s me. Just in case.
What about you guys? Got a favorite video game with a great story?