6 Books Based on Video Games

Finished your favorite games, but aren’t done experiencing their characters and world? Here are six books that’ll help you relive those glory days.

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Imagine a Venn diagram. In the left circle are all of the avid readers in the world, in the right circle are all of the avid gamers. How many people are where the two overlap? More than you think, and it’s not too surprising to understand why, once you think about it. Video games have evolved quite a bit since the time of Pac Man, Galaga and Donkey Kong. They tell stories now, deep, complex stories, about loss, redemption, revenge, purpose, narrative themes that are found in some of the greatest literary works of all time. Yes, there are the mindless military shooters and button mashing beat ‘em ups, but as a whole, video games have become their very own art form, which is why it’s no surprise that so many authors have taken inspiration from them and adapted their stories to the page. Have you finished your favorite games but aren’t done experiencing their characters and world? Here are six books that’ll help you relive those glory days.


6. Assassin’s Creed: Renaissance 

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Ezio Auditore da Ferenze is regarded as one of the best video game protagonists of all time, and for good reason. A suave, charismatic, yet lazy, spoiled son of a Florentine nobleman in the 15th century, his care-free life is suddenly thrown into chaos when his father and two brothers are publicly executed by the ruling families of Italy. Now, seeking answers as well as revenge, Ezio has to don the robes of the Assassin Brotherhood, and  uncover a conspiracy greater than he ever thought. Oliver Bowden, who adopted the pen-name of Anton Gill, adapts this story of vengeance to the page, capturing the spirit of the video games, yet also making something new. 


5. Uncharted: The Fourth Labyrinth 

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Written by Chrispoher Golden, Uncharted: The Fourth Labyrinth is said to be a standalone adventure, set in time between the games so as to not break the established continuity, so the story may not be canon, yet it still features Nathan Drake on yet another quest, as he’s been called to New York City by his father figure Victor Sullivan, to investigate the murder of his old friend, who used to be a world-famous archaeologist. Dodging assassins, Drake, Sully, and the dead man’s daughter, Jada Hzujak, race from New York to underground excavations in Egypt and Greece. Their goal: to uncover the astonishing discovery that got Jada’s father killed. Christopher Golden takes the famous characters from the Uncharted franchise and expands previously unexplored elements, making this book a must read for every fan. 


4. The Infernal City

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In addition to providing us with engaging stories, video games also allow us to explore vast fantastical worlds, and no video game series inhabits a more fantastical world than The Elder Scrolls. If you can’t get enough Skyrim, immediately add The Infernal City to your reading queue, as Greg Keyes tells an original tale set in Tamriel, where, four decades after the Oblivion Crisis, a new evil suddenly appears off the coast: Umbriel, a floating city that casts a terrifying shadow – for whoever it falls on dies and is resurrected as the undead. If you’re a fan of The Elder Scrolls and looking for some insight on what happened immediately following the events of the previous installment, look no further than this short yet captivating read. 


3. Far Cry: Absolution 

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Hope County, Montana. Land of the free and the brave, but also home to a fanatical doomsday cult known as The Church of Eden’s Gate that has slowly been infiltrating the residents’ daily lives in the past years. A prequel to Far Cry 5, this novel by Urban Waite follows characters Mary May Fairgrave, a bartender who lost almost everything to the Church, and William Boyd, a hunter who was “saved” by Eden’s Gate. When Mary takes matters into her own hands, she finds that she alone stands little chance, but with the unexpected intervention of William, who finds that the Church’s intentions are far more sinister than he originally thought, their lives will be changed forever. 


2. Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes

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Ten years after the horrific murders at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza that ripped their town apart, Charlie, whose father owned the restaurant, and her childhood friends reunite on the anniversary of the tragedy and find themselves at the old pizza place, which had been locked up and abandoned for years. After they discover a way inside, they realize that things are not as they used to be. The four adult-sized animatronic mascots that once entertained patrons have changed. They now have a dark secret . . .  and a murderous agenda. While Scott Cawthon and Kira Breed-Wrisley seemed to have abandoned the game’s simple plot of a security guard just trying to survive the night shift, I think they took what the game provided and made something far more interesting (I mean, why wouldn’t the security guard quit after the first night?). 


1. God of War: The Official Novelization

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His vengeance against the Olympians years behind him, Kratos now lives as a man in the realm of the Norse gods with his son Atreus. After cremating the body of his wife, Faye, Kratos and Atreus begin their journey to honor Faye’s last wish and scatter her ashes at the highest peak of the nine realms, facing gods and monsters along the way. God of War (2018) kept the grand scale and satisfying combat of its predecessors yet included the one element the franchise was sorely lacking: a powerful narrative, turning Kratos from a mindless, roaring war machine consumed by revenge into a kinder, gentler, and more humane character, learning to be a father for his son while also attempting to atone for his past sins. J.M Barlog takes this gripping tale and retells it with a fresh perspective.

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