Guest Post: “One RPG at a Time” by Kristi Charish + GIVEAWAY of Owl and the Japanese Circus
*** The giveaway is now over, thank you to everyone who entered! ***
Today, we’re very excited to welcome author Kristi Charish to talk about a topic that all of us at the BiblioSanctum happen to be quite passionate about too — VIDEO GAMES! Kristi’s book, Owl and the Japanese Circus will be available on January 13, 2015 from Simon & Schuster Canada and Pocket Star. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our review! Now on to the fun!
ONE RPG AT A TIME: VIDEO GAMES AS MY WRITING INFLUENCE
by Kristi Charish
I love video games. Especially RPGs. Ever since a roommate way back in my undergrad days introduced me to Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights I’ve been a hooked, loyal RPG convert. Sci-Fi, Adventure, Fantasy- doesn’t really matter what genre, if there’s a story to be had I’m in.
A lot of different pieces of media influence my writing (Indiana Jones and the Mummy are two of my biggest) but in a lot of ways my venture into those first RPG video games set me on the writing path in a way movies, traditional video games, and table top role playing games never could. To this day when I need a quick kick in the proverbial writing ass to get back on track, my first go to isn’t a book or movie; it’s an RPG video game. Video games have the ability to immerse me in a story the way no other medium out there can and it’s a shame they don’t get enough credit for it.
Credit where Credit is Due
I’m not going to mince words here. I feel very strongly that some of the best Sci-Fi and Fantasy produced over the past decade has come from the video game corner, though you’ll be hard pressed to get many writers to admit that. The Mass Effect series (Bioware) is arguably one of the best pieces of science fiction writing and storytelling around, yet if you look at the Hugo awards there are slots for movies, TV, fiction, Fanzines, even art, but no videogames. To me that says a lot about the reception video games have gotten from the writing community as a valid storytelling medium, and in my humble opinion it’s a massive oversight. Though video games are still the relatively new kid on the storytelling block, they’ve fast become one of the most influential mediums out there. Blockbuster video game audiences (Call of Duty and Halo anyone?) are reaching the levels of blockbuster movies. Over the years the storytelling has evolved by leaps and along with the voice acting and animated cut scenes. The games that result are that much more immersive and engaging and in ways movies and books can’t come close to.
Video games, particularly some of the RPGs (like some of the Dragon Age and the Final Fantasy entries to name a few), are fast becoming one of the most emotionally engaging interactive experiences on the planet. And they’re just getting started. With the oculus rift looming on the horizon video games promise to become that much more immersive.
It’s a Brave new Storytelling Medium Out There
There are things you can do with story in video games that can’t be done in other mediums. The visual and audio component allows for a greater immersive experience as well as cold drops into the story, delivering information about the environment and setting without the use of text. And while film accomplishes a similar effect, movies and TV have a defined narrative time length and pace that can’t be altered. Video games veer from that script by giving the player flexibility to immerse them in the set story narrative or take their time and look around. There’s more you can communicate to the viewer in those breaks and they have control over what they decide to spend their time on, changing the equation and giving we, the audience, more options then ever before as to how we take our story.
Then there’s the vested interest. Whether the character is fully realized (DA 2 Hawke) or a cipher (DAI) I’m more emotionally involved with the character I play than in any movie or book. I can’t help it; I’m playing through their eyes. And then there’s the romance. Dragon Age Origins was the first time I sat up and paid attention to a romance line in a game. Sure there’d been attempts at romance in games before (NWN2, BG2) but they’d universally felt forced, just another way to gain a few XP points and pass the time in between quests with somewhat interesting story filler. That changed when Dragon Age Origins came on the scene. All of a sudden I cared where the romance was going. With streamlined dialogue, believable story arcs, and character development, for the first time ever I believed the in game romance sub plots. Not interested in Romance? No problem, you can choose not to participate or just skip the cut scenes. Again, that choice and personalization thing.
Games aren’t perfect and they’re certainly not a replacement for books and movies, but make no doubt about it. They’re a powerful storytelling tool we’ve just seen the start of…which reminds me, I’ve got a writing inspiration session scheduled with Final Fantasy XII 🙂
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kristi is the author of OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS (Jan 13th, 2015, Simon and Schuster Canada/Pocket Books), an urban fantasy about a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world. She writes what she loves; adventure heavy stories featuring strong, savvy female protagonists, pop culture, and the occasional RPG fantasy game thrown in the mix. The second installment, OWL AND THE CITY OF ANGELS, is scheduled for release Jan 2016. Her second urban fantasy series, KINCAID STRANGE (Random House Canada), about a voodoo practioner living in Seattle, is scheduled for release mid 2016.
Kristi is also a scientist with a BSc and MSc from Simon Fraser University in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and a PhD in Zoology from the University of British Columbia. Her specialties are genetics, cell biology, and molecular biology, all of which she draws upon in her writing. She is represented by Carolyn Forde at Westwood Creative Artists.
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OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS GIVEAWAY
Here’s what you’ve been waiting for! The BiblioSanctum is pleased to host a giveaway for Owl and the Japanese Circus. Up for grabs is one print copy of the book for residents of the US/Canada, OR a digital copy for International entrants. To enter, all you have to do is send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line “OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS” with your Name and valid Mailing Address (for US/Canada) or Email Address (for International) by 11:59pm Eastern time on Tuesday, January 20, 2015.
Only one entry per household, please. The winner will be randomly selected when the giveaway ends and then be notified by email. All information will only be used for the purposes of contacting the winner and sending them their prize. Once the giveaway ends all entry emails will be deleted.
So what are you waiting for? Enter now for your chance to win! Good luck!