Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

Never stop dreaming, 'cause the day you stop dreaming, is the day you stop living.

Video games: Why can writers learn from them?


Most people have played at least one video game before. There are so many different types of games, and my personal favorites are RPG’s. Why is that? Because they have amazing plots and wonderful characters, in-depth worlds and overall, that ties together to make a great game.

And story.

All of the things that make a great RPG, make a great novel.

I would recommend taking a look at a couple roleplaying games. There are popular ones that fit all the above, such as the Final Fantasy series, or lesser known series, such as the Persona series, particularly games three and four. Of course, there are plenty of other games that are great when it comes to everything I mentioned above, but these are two that I would personally recommend.

Let’s take a deeper look at similarities between games and books, shall we?

  1. Characters
    Characters are one of the most essential parts of any book. The readers follow along their story and live through their trying journey with them. Readers feel their emotions, their pain, and all the sorrow life puts them through, as well as the joy. In games, characters change over the course of the game as plot points are revealed. They develop. In books, that is what writers must create: Developing characters who readers enjoying following and root for.
  2. Plot
    Another important part of any novel is the plot. What happens? The protagonist finds out that they’re the last in the line of mages, bad guys come after the main character to kill him/her or force him/her to help them in their quest to take over the world. Base plotline. Throw in some trials along the way. An epic battle, the death of the character’s best friend; all these things bring life to the tale and make readers even more attached to the character. Games often do this well.
  3. Worlds
    So, you’ve got your mage, your bad guys, and your sidekicks. What else? Paint a picture for the readers. Now that you have essentials that are in the world, you need the world itself. What is the history of this world? For example, how were the mages wiped out? While mentioning specific historical events, tell readers about the world. Is it filled with lush forests, scattered islands, or dangerous deserts? Let readers know the more intricate details, even things like social structure in their society. These details tie everything else together.

So, the next time you intend to play a game, take a more mindful look at these aspects. You’ll be amazed what you can find and learn from video games, that you can turn around and use for writing your novel, short stories, or plays.

After all, there’s a reason the video game industry needs writers.

What do you think about the ties between video games and books? Is there any game you would recommend for the above-mentioned points? Share them!

Author: Natasha McNeely

I'm a writer, reader, gamer and a dreamer. I love losing myself to thought and considering possibilities. That is how I create my stories and weave the erratic tales into readable ones.

7 thoughts on “Video games: Why can writers learn from them?

  1. It is true, video games have great plots… I did learn from them too. Not alot of authors get the chance to gain experience and inspiration they need for their novels… playing spy games, RPGs, adventure games, etc… gives us, the authors, what we need to make our story feel more realistic and interesting.
    Best regards

    • Exactly. Playing video games has been one of my favorite things to do, alongside reading, since my childhood. It’s a great way to observe and learn how to create interesting worlds and characters for one’s own novels.

  2. I’ve never really enjoyed RPGs – I’ve always been more of an adventure game girl. Sierra and Lucas Arts, and the earlier Westwood Studios – I grew up on their games. I love games, but not just as a player – I love to watch other people play adventure games. I’ve spent a lot of time watching my brothers play Prince of Persia, for example, and I really enjoy that – just watching the scenery, enjoying the characters and the story.

    Although my Upholders of the Realm series is planned in novel format, I actually designed the world, characters and story for a game format. It would either be an RPG or (more likely) an adventure game. When asked where I would like to see Upholders of the Realm go, I’ve always said, it isn’t publication as a series of novels that I want for that series – it’s to see it as a game series.

    • I’ve always been primarily an RPG kind of person, but I don’t mind the occasional adventure game or just other types in general. RPGs have simply always been my favorite. I love watching people play, as well, and often do on YouTube, but I also play a lot.

      Really? That would be something I’d be interested in seeing. I hope it works out for you, whether in novel or game format, and that you’ll be happy with it!

  3. I love computer games, and RPGs are awesome. Or some of them are. Most. Probably.The figuring out what to do next (like Zelda) always thrilled me.

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