Making a Game out of Reading Books

Reading = Gaming (1)

‘Game’ can be interpreted as simply as an activity someone takes part in for amusement. I’m a big fan of making games out of books and the act of reading books because it adds another layer of fun to what is already a lovely leisure activity. Over the past week or so I’ve been looking at the different ways people have made book related games and activities. One of the most unique book-related games I’ve seen is Oh, the Books‘ Bookish Games, which is basically a book inspired version of mafia/werewolf. So far there has been a Hunger Games, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Divergent and, currently, a Death Note edition. It’s a creative way to interact with popular stories. Of course, there are lots of other fun bookish activities that make reading that bit more entertaining to be found throughout the blogosphere. Reading challenges, book bingo, read-alongs, readathons, quizzes and more: each of these activities add a fun twist to loving books.

Bookish activities can make reading into a challenge, a game and a communal experience depending on what they are set-up to do. There’s a bookish activity out there for everyone, whether they want one about a specific book, or genre, or about reading generally.   I LOVE that about book blogs. Plus, if there isn’t one already out  there that you specifically want to do you can create one for yourself.

My interest in book-orientated games was prompted by a sudden urge to join a reading challenge of some kind. I was browsing around trying to find ones to participate in and was reminded of  how many interesting ones are out there. There are a few I ‘ll be joining soon, including Cayce at Fighting Dreamer’s LGBT Challenge 2014 (which I’ll be making separate sign-up post for).

I think these kind of events are popular on blogs that discuss books because firstly (in my experience) book lovers frequently have an abundance of books piling up that they want to read as soon as possible and challenges give them an extra reason to do so, secondly they’re fun, thirdly there’s a gratifying sense of achievement that comes with completing/winning a challenge, fourthly you can network with other readers and fifthly they can prompt readers to discover new books they wouldn’t necessarily have thought to look for otherwise.

Thinking about reading challenges and book-related games has made me want to create one for myself, a game that is what I’m personally looking for in an interactive bookish event. I don’t think other people will be interested in participating but I’m going to tell you about it anyway :P. I’m trying to create something that is a reading challenge in RPG form. The game asks the participant to take on the role of the central character, Cassi, and take part in a fantasy story. To advance the plot the player must meet certain objectives via the books they read. The game is called (at the moment):

The Grand and Obscure Adventures of Cassi Therohaven

The problem is that my idea may be getting rather convoluted but I’m going through with it anyway even though I will be the only one to play it. As long as I understand it enough to play, then it should be okay? It’s been a lot of fun to make so far because it’s a writing project as much as anything else. I’m making a story to encourage me to read stories. It’s logical in my world…

A Brief Overview of How Grand and Obscure Works:

There are a range of characters to meet in the game who each have different parts of the story to give you. To meet them you need to read the right book. For example, to meet the artist and hear what she contributes to the story you need to read a graphic novel or illustrated book. Once you’ve read and reviewed that book you can submit the review link and get a password to the page where the artist’s part of the story is hidden.

The story requires you to pull all of the story fragments you can from each character page together to fully make sense of the story. There are some complicating factors to this process. Some of the statements characters give you may contradict each other, like that of the artist and the scholar for example, and only make sense when you read what another character has to say, so the wizard may tell you the artist is a liar which would change how you read the artist’s statement.

Some characters have extra requirements before you can unlock their page. For example, to confront the heir to the throne you need to read a sequel AND you need to have already unlocked a specific group of other characters.

The challenge is set to a time limit, the ending you receive is determined by how many (and which) objectives you have completed. Of course, you get the best ending if you fulfill all objectives.

The aim of the game/challenge is a) to finish the story and b) prompt me into reading a wide variety of books and reviewing them (I’m terrible at posting reviews) in my efforts to unlock a variety of characters.

So, this is the game I’m going to play in 2015. I’m using the rest of 2014 to craft it. The story-line won’t be a surprise to me since I’ll have written it but I think the challenge to read my way to the good ending will be fun all the same. In summary, I love the idea of making games out of  books and reading. I love looking at what other people are doing in this regard and I want to make a game for myself.

Have any of you made your own game out of reading or a specific book? If you haven’t, what kind would you make? Do you enjoy participating in these kinds of things? Do you prefer rainbows or robots? Tell me such things in the comments below :).

Ren x

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5 responses to “Making a Game out of Reading Books

  1. Pingback: Weekly Recap| Jul 13-19, 2014 | Oh, the Books!·

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