Read This? Play This Game!

readthisplaythis2 copy

Hi friends! As some of you may, or may not know, I like to play video games when I am not blogging. (Which, truth be told, is hardly ever nowadays.) I was listening to music from Child of Light, and I thought to myself, ‘I know so many of my bookish friends would love this game‘. So, of course the the blogger in me immediately thinks, ‘I’M GOING TO WRITE A POST ABOUT IT.’

Video games have played a big part in shaping my life – and I’m not ashamed to admit that! From improving my English as a child, meeting new friends and bonding through our shared love for games, and to even learning profound life lessons, games have a special place in my heart. Video games, to me, is more than just having fun. Video games can also be an incredible platform for incredible storytelling with complex characters, stunning romances, heartstopping action, thought-provoking stories, and even profound themes. (Hey, isn’t that what we readers want from our books? Gaming is pretty similar in that regard!) Oh, and bonus: amazing music.

So today, I want to marry my two loves together: books and video games.

(Note: All links in this post open to a new tab. You’re welcome.)

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IF YOU LIKE MODERN FAIRYTALES, PLAY CHILD OF LIGHT

childoflight copy

Aurora, a young girl from 1895 Austria, awakens on the lost fairytale continent of Lemuria. To return home she must fight against the dark creatures of the Queen of the Night, who have stolen the sun, the moon and the stars. At stake is not only Lemuria, but Aurora’s true destiny.

Play this while reading: Pilgrims on a Long Journey, from Child of Light

The game as a mix of books: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chronicles of Narnia, Song of the Lionness series

Why you’d love this game: Child of Light is a modern fairytale – and is perhaps one of the most beautiful games I have ever played.

It has all the elements of a fairytale – it is told in rhyme, it has magic and wonderful creatures, it is about friendship and love, overcoming adversary, being brave, and one princess and her utterly courageous journey across a magical but dangerous land. Oh, and there is no romance in this story.

Why it’s one of my favourites: 

  • Child of Light may be a game, but I think it’s a piece of art first. The atmosphere is flawless, the music is beautiful, and the storytelling is perfection.
  • To get a feel of the game’s atmosphere, here is the opening scene. (And doesn’t the stained glass art remind you of Beauty and the Beast?)
  • The music is gentle but melancholic, but can make you feel like you’re on an adventure where you face enemies of darkness where every personal victory matters. 
  • More so, the art and animation are gorgeous – definitely something to appreciate!

Game difficulty: Easy, with a low learning curve
Time for me to finish: 11 hours
I played it on: PC, via Steam
Trigger warnings: None that I can think of – please correct me if I am wrong.
Can’t play? Here’s the whole game edited into a movie.

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IF YOU LIKE ASSASSINS, PLAY DISHONOURED

dishonored

Set in the fictional, plague-ridden industrial city of Dunwall, Dishonored follows the story of Corvo Attano, bodyguard to the Empress of the Isles. He is framed for her murder and forced to become an assassin, seeking revenge on those who conspired against him. Corvo is aided in his quest by the Loyalists—a resistance group fighting to reclaim Dunwall, and the Outsider—a powerful being who imbues Corvo with magical abilities

Play this while reading: Wrenhaven River, from Dishonoured

The game as a mix of books: The Way of the Shadows, The Lies of Lock Lamora, Six of Crows (for the atmosphere), The Young Elites (Adelina’s powers)

Why you’d love this gameAssassins, people. If you enjoy assassin stories, you can become the assassin you want to be: one that can send a city to its ruin – or save it.

Why it’s one of my favourites: 

  • Dishonoured can be completed without a single enemy character seeing you and, more interestingly, it can also be completed without killing a single person. Conversely, you can kill everything in sight. However, killing enemies is not only unnecessary, but the more you kill, the more the city descends into chaos – the plague spreads, more guards are stationed, allies will become hostile, and the Empress’s daughter will also show disturbing behaviour, learning from Corvo that terrible means, even killing, can justify the ends.
  • The game is also very atmospheric, its art style a blend of Victorian and steampunk.
  • Endowed with mysterious powers of darkness, take control of your enemy’s mind, slow time, or teleport — you can get pretty creative.
  • It is sombre and dark, but definitely a fun and challenging game.
  • And just because I love the sequel’s trailer, here’s the trailer for Dishonoured II – which has a female protagonist. I’m so excited, guys!

Game difficulty: Recommended to gamers familiar with first-person; has a difficulty setting
Time: 14 hours (22 hours for no killing playthrough)
I played it on: PC, via Steam
Trigger warnings: graphic violence, graphic death, body horror, torture

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IF YOU LIKE DYSTOPIA + SCI-FI, PLAY BIOSHOCK INFINITE

bioshock

The game is set in the year 1912 and follows its protagonist, former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, who is sent to the floating air city of Columbia to find a young woman, Elizabeth, who has been held captive there for most of her life. Though Booker rescues Elizabeth, the two become involved with the city’s warring factions: the nativist and elite Founders that rule Columbia and strive to keep its privileges for White Americans, and the Vox Populi, underground rebels representing the underclass of the city. During this conflict, Booker learns that Elizabeth possesses strange powers to manipulate “Tears” in the space-time continuum that ravage Columbia, and soon discovers her to be central to the city’s dark secrets.

The game as a mix of books: Brave New World, Slaughterhouse Five, The Giver

Why you’d love this game: it’s part dystopian – Columbia is a militant pseudo-Christian ‘utopia’ entrenched in institutional racism, white supremacy, and elitism – as well as part science-fiction – containing elements about space-time, alternate dimensions, and steampunk, whilst also exploring love, who we are, and who we can become.

Why it’s one of my favourites: 

  • Probably my favourite game of 2013, Bioshock Infinite is a flawless combination of beautiful visuals and one incredible and unforgettable story.
  • The game has two fantastic leads – Booker DeWitt, a cynical man with nothing left to lose, and Elizabeth, who is not only a compelling and lovable character but also incredibly helpful in the game. The dialogue between them is spectacular.
  • It is very story-driven with an amazing amount of depth, social (and historical) commentary, and is, surprisingly, very emotional too.
  • The atmosphere is incredible, and is heavily influenced by its time-period.
  • I have to share one scene with you guys, and when I played Bioshock Infinite for the first time, it knocked the breath out of me. In this scene, Booker enters Columbia for the first time. And if you want to see more, this is the first twenty minutes of the game. (Gah, I’m going to play this game again.)

Game difficulty: Recommended to gamers familiar with first-person; has a difficulty setting
Time: 8 – 9 hours
I played it on: PC, via Steam
Trigger warnings: graphic violence, body horror, torture
Can’t play? Here’s the whole game edited into a movie.

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Writing about the three games above resulted in an unexpectedly long post, so I am making this a feature of my blog – so consider today’s post as Part 1! I hope that you, gamer or no, enjoyed reading this post, or, at least, can see that video games can be avenues of amazingly written and meaningful stories.

  • Do you play video games? What sort of video games do you like? What are your favourites?
  • Do you have any thoughts about the games I shared above? I welcome all!
  • If you aren’t a gamer but would like other recommendations, let me know!
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31 thoughts on “Read This? Play This Game!

  1. This is such a cool and fun idea. Might have to borrow it from you one day. As for the games I haven’t played Child of Light but it’s been on my wish list. I’m waiting for Dishonored 2 to come out cause I love the first. And Bio Sock Infinite is so damn beautiful even though that game has a dark theme. Loved it. Now I want to replay it lol

    Have you played Assassin Creed franchise or Journey. Journey is beautiful and fantastic. Which reminds me I want to play The Last Guardian. I feel I will cry with that game.

    Great post! New follower.

    • Hi Sanovia! Thank you so much! And YES, feel free to borrow – and please link me. I’d love to see your own choices and pairings!
      I’m incredibly excited about Dishonoured 2! The reveal trailer had me screaming and crying happy tears.
      Isn’t Bioshock amazing? The whole series is incredible but Bioshock Infinite was my favourite of the three. I feel like playing it again too!

      I have! I played the first right up to Black Flag. I didn’t bother with the French Revolution one (though the trailer was pretty darn cool) because I heard it was an unpolished, glitchy game. And I wasn’t prepared to spend $90 on an unpolished game! How about you?
      And yes, I’ve played Journey! It’s so beautiful, and the music is amazing too.

      Oooh yes, I remember seeing The Last Guardian at E3! I’ve never played any of Team Ico’s games, but I heard they are wonderful.

      Thank you so much! Likewise. <3

  2. I’m in love with all of these three games. I have the Bioshock Infinite artbook, and it blows my mind every time I look at it for inspiration. I also love watching Cryaotic on YouTube play this game too. LOL

    What computer do you play these games on? I wanted to play a lot of games on my PC, but my computer couldn’t handle a lot of the graphics. 8[ I’m now using a Mac so my options are more limited, but in case I’ll buy a PC in the future for gaming or something, haha. (Looking at Overwatch..)

    • AHHH MY GOODNESS, I was going to buy the Bioshock Infinite artbook but… $$ :”(
      I play mine on Windows, but it hasn’t had a good update in awhile now. ;_; It can still run the latest games though, but not at like, ultra high quality.
      Hahaha all my friends are playing Overwatch! They’re really enjoying it too. My time with FPS multiplayers is over now though. :c

  3. Not a gamer but this post makes me want to turn into one! This is a really a creative idea CW. Looking forward to more of these posts. I think I am going to start with Child of Light first. As for BioShock Infinite, on a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate its graphic violence/body horror?

  4. I’ve never heard of Child of Light, but it looks absolutely gorgeous! My partner is a children’s game animator and I think this would be up both of our alleys :D Not to mention, Narnia is my favourite thing in the whole wide world.

  5. While books are me first love, I do love video games. I am just picky. Favorites include Syrim and Okami. Child of Light sounds fascinating. I am not a skilled gamer so I have to always take that into consideration. I adored this post. So well written and thoughtful. Makes me feel like getting back into gaming for a bit :)
    x The Captain

  6. YES Bioshock Infinite was my favourite of 2013 as well, it was such a stunning game and my gosh that narrative. I was completely stunned and enthralled by it. I love this feature so much, it’s a shame I don’t get the time to game much anymore!

    • AGREED! Bioshock Infinite is the kind of game that stands the test of time, same with Bioshock 1. Did you hear it’s going to be remastered?
      Me too! I haven’t gamed in awhile – the last game I (sort of) finished was Fallout 4… But I’m waiting for Dishonored 2 and Pokemon to release, hehe. :3

  7. Omg Child of Light and Bioshock sound awesome – I’d buy them right now but I’m saving money for Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice, Pokemon Sun and Moon (not going to buy both of course, I don’t have that kind of money lol) and Disney Magical World 2 😅 And of course all the books coming out 🙈

    • Michelle!! <3
      Ooh!! Well! There's always the Black Friday sale? XD That's when I usually buy my games… I think Child of Light goes as low as $15 when it's on sale. And for what you get out of it, it's not bad at all!
      AH, I'm so excited for Sun and Moon! Have you seen the videos?? (ALOLA?? I cried when I saw them for the first time!) But I know what you mean, I bought both for my boyfriend's birthday lmao and haven't preordered them for myself… yet. :'(

      • Ooh that’s awesome! I’ll keep an eye out for it :)
        SAME. I need it right now. I have! Though I stopped watching the newer ones since I don’t want to know so much already and want to be surprised while playing it. But the first videos aaaah. Haha same here, especially during that video when they announced it and they showed the games through the years. Aaaah that’s so sweet of you though!

    • Thank you Marie!! <3 I think even if you aren't a gamer, you could definitely enjoy Child of Light! It's not a hard game at all, very relaxing, and lots of fun! ^_^ But of course, it's a lot of time investment, which is why I hardly play anymore.
      But thank you so much!! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :D

  8. HELLO NEW BEST FRIEND

    So I have been wanting to play Child of Light for a REALLY long time and I completely forgot about it until you mentioned it! I’m going to see how much it is for the PS4 now (I think last time I checked it was $15, which is normal for an Indie (?) game). I HAVEN’T PLAYED Dishonored but I have watched someone play it. This is the first I’ve heard about the whole not killing anyone leads to less enemies. I will probably still kill everyone though whoops. Are you excited for Dishonored 2? Bioshock Infinite is definitely one of my favorite games of all time, and I need to watch all the cutscenes again. BECAUSE FEELS.

    I play so many games I don’t even know if I can list them all here. I think my all time favorite is Mass Effect. As was Assassin’s Creed before the series started going down hill.

    • *FLAILS* HELLO MY NEW BEST FRIEND, AHHH another gamer <3
      It's so good, Val! You won't regret buying it. It's not indie – it's Ubisoft Montreal! But, easily one of the best games I've played, ever.

      DISHONOURED IS GOOD! And so so much fun, I recommend. <3 Hahahaha, I have to say, when you go for the non-lethal playthrough, you don't have the opportunity to use your powers, which can get prettyyyy boring and tedious.
      I'm SUPER excited for Dishonoured 2! I'm not sure how I'm going to handle November because Pokemon Sun/Moon and Final Fantasy XV come out in November… (Byebye money. 😂)

      Isn't Bioshock just amazing? Did you hear that they're remastering all three games? I'm tempted to buy it because Bioshock 1 and Infinite were amazing. (2 was bleh.)

      I actually haven't played Mass Effect! It's just so BIG and I have no idea where to begin. I have played Dragon Age though! That's probably one of my favourites. <3 I liked Assassin's Creed, especially AC3. And yeah, HAHA, I didn't play after Black Flag. :I Are you going to watch the AC movie when it comes out?

  9. Pingback: September Recap: Lessons from my work life & celebrating the book community | Read, Think, Ponder

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