Text Adventures

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I don't have much of a topic for my blog today. I'm really just sick of looking at the pictures of bad hairdos from my previous post, including that hideously frightening nightmare-witch Kate Gosselin. SO! New topic, a chance for some fresh discussion, and an opportunity to shove my previous post down the page a bit.

Books I'm Currently Reading That Would Also Make a Good Videogame

Chronicles of the Black Company -- Glen Cook

I've been wanting to read this fantasy series for a long time now. I'm normally not much of a swords and sworcery type--though I'll admit an undue fascination with George R. R. Martin's "Song of Ice & Fire" series--but Cook's war-torn approach to the tales of the hardened badasses known as The Black Company appeals to me because of its gritty, realistic tone. Often noted as the fantasy equivalent of a Vietnam-era war tale, Chronicles is significant to me for its "grunt's take" on the business of war, as well as its relatively modern dialogue (no "thees" and "thous" here; characters instead refer to each other as "guys" and say "Yo.") The effect isn't anacrhonistic; instead, I find it makes for easier reading, especially when dealing with the large cast.I'm pretty early on in this story collection but I've been mightily impressed so far.

The Game Pitch: Grim war tales in a fantasy setting, full of black humor, and abounding in violence. Seems like ripe territory for an action game to me.

Under the Dome -- Stephen King

Didn't King retire a few years ago? Thank goodness his self-imposed hiatus was short-lived, else we wouldn't have this hefty gem of world-building and small-town dread to dive into. I'm roughly about halfway through this story of a small Maine town that finds itself inexplicably trapped under a transparent dome, and I'm continually surprised by King's commitment to what, on paper, sounds like an utterly preposterous premise.

Of course, the strength of this novel isn't found in its flimsy conceit, but rather in King's careful buildling of the fictional world of Chester's Mill and, more importantly, its inevitable, surgical dismantling. It's about the slender nature of a community's bonds, and how quickly those threads can be unraveled. King is precise and ruthless and it makes for a fun ride.

The Game Pitch: Survival horror for sure. You play a resident of Chester's Mill and, in a matter of hours, your life is transformed from that of a happy, productive citizen, to a survivor trapped in a small town where resources are scarce and no one--not even your former friends and neighbors--can be trusted.

Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan

Jake Adelstein was an American student living in Japan when he was hired by Tokyo's Yomiuri Shinbun (one of the nation's largest newspapers). This fascinating book follows Adelstein early days as a cub reporter and, later, his work covering the crime beat in Tokyo, a job that put him necessarily close to the yakuza. Simultaneously a memoir, an eye-opening examination of (among other things) the massive and seemingly impenetrable human trafficking rings that operate in and out of Japan, and a detailed look at the inner workings of the yakuza and the Japanese media in the late 1990s and beyond. If you've never been to Tokyo, this book will make you want to go; if you have, you'll see it differently the next time you return.

The Game Pitch: An open-world crime game? The main character and plotline for the next Yakuza game? You play as a rookie gaijin reporter trying to get scoops in a town that you don't fully understand and that wants nothing to do with you. Incidentally, by way of his Twitter feed it's obvious that Adelstein is a fan of videogames. I wonder what he would have to say about a game based on his life story?

So that's what's sitting on my reading table these days. What about you?