I’m not a fan of True Blood but I understand its appeal. The vampires act like you’d expect they should rather than the wet blanket acting found in other blood sucking fiction (you know who you are) and I know plenty of people who love the TV show. Charlaine Harris is responsible for the cult phenomenon after her books, the Sookie Stackhouse series of supernatural thrillers were heavily used as a basis for the show and now the author has chosen to dabble in the world of gaming.
Even though there are a number of incredibly talented writers like Amy Henning Tim Schafer and Erik Wolpaw (to name but a few) already working on video games, news of Harris’s efforts is causing a stir online. Naturally fans of her work are hoping her games will house some of the qualities they’ve come to love and Harris’s first title for iPlay called Dying for Daylight may do just that. It follows Dahlia, a fashionable wise-ass vampire searching for a potion to allow her kind to survive in sunlight. Clearly vampires are a favoured characteristic for Harris whose applied her story telling techniques to the hidden-object game genre on the PC.
Now that Harris has got a taste for video games, CNN asked what the experience has been like and how writing for a medium like books differs from that of the interactive world of video games: “For me, writing books is about the progression of the characters as they change to meet circumstances on their way to the climax of the book. Games seem to have a more clearly cut goal and to require little change on the part of the character you’re manoeuvring through the stages of the game. Since I have discovered I’m really linear, the one step forward, one step back structure of games was at first very frustrating; you don’t keep going forward but are having to go back to get this item or that item. Perhaps it’s more like real life in that respect!” Video games are more akin to real life than books? Don’t let the critics her such a thing or they’ll it may force them to rethink their negative views on video game narrative.
Harris is still flying the flag for novels however and doesn’t believe the medium has much to worry about in terms of its credibility and commercial success compared to games just yet: “Short stories put your name in the path of the reading public, and therefore publishers. Publishers will take you much more seriously if you’ve had several short stories in reputable markets like magazines or anthologies. I don’t know how much credence they’d put in a book proposal by a writer who’d written games, but I’m willing to believe that is mounting. I think any way you can get published is good though, as long as you’re getting paid for it. I don’t know if games have the power to create a career, but they certainly could add to one.” Games may not have the power to create a career in writing novels but as a lot of indie developers will tell you, writing a great interactive story can certainly kick start your career in gaming.