I know this site is all about writing, and video games are these things where you run and jump and blow people up, so they have no business being here, right? Well, if you think that, you’d be wrong.
Video games can be hugely inspiring to writers. Sometimes it helps kill some time when you’re wrestling with that block that writers get sometimes, but more importantly, they can be a great source of inspiration. If you play the right games. Maybe you’ve never really played video games, and you think you’re not a gamer. You don’t like shooting, racing, action games… you’re a writer, you like to read! Literature, that’s where it’s at! Games would never be able to offer an experience like that… would they?
Actually, they’re more than capable of doing so. It’s just about finding the right games. And I’ve got two game recommendations for you here, both of them are about dreams (since the surreal world of dreams is a major source of inspiration for many writers). Also, because I believe indies should stick together, no matter what medium they create in, those two recommendations are for indie video games.
The first one is The Dream Machine, an adventure game by two very talented Swedish guys whom I had the great pleasure of interviewing two years ago. As you can see on the game’s site, it features beautiful stop-motion animation with lovingly hand-crafted sets. If you don’t get inspired by something like that, there must be something wrong with you. Sorry to put it so bluntly. If you’re not yet convinced though, you can play the first chapter for free by clicking the Play button on the aforementioned website.
The second game had been sitting on my hard drive for a while now, pretty much unplayed, until I finally got into the right mood for it. And once you do, the experience is very rewarding. I’m talking about The Sea Will Claim Everything, a game that takes place in the Lands of Dream, a very extensive fictional universe created by husband/wife team Jonas and Verena Kyratzes. It’s world building done right (the Tolkien way), and writers can learn a lot just from that. But the game itself is also great for writers and readers alike, since it features a lot of text that you can read at your own pace, as well as an abundance of literary references and influences. It’s really just like playing a book. And the good news is they’re making another game just like it, calledIthaka of the Clouds. They just need a bit more money to reach their goal, sohelp out if you can, and play one or more of the other Lands of Dream gamesas well.
So there, dear writers and readers, hopefully now you see that video games really aren’t scary. They can actually become your friends once you get to know them, and help you think outside the box. (I myself have been toying with the idea of one day making a piece of interactive fiction.) Have fun playing, and if you want to know more about gaming for writers, or you just love inspiration articles such as this one and want me to write more, do let me know, please!