When you think of a GameLit book whether it’s LitRPG, LitFPS, or whichever sub-genre, you think that the story mostly takes place in a “video game” world. For the most part, you would be correct. After all, the term GameLit is coined as a genre that has elements of a video game and we know that video games are not “real life”. In other words, most titles in the genre have no real consequences in the real world since they take place in a separate virtual world. Despite that, I’ve seen books try to mix in the world behind the screen to the real world where we actually live our lives. This begs the question can GameLit/LitRPG books have a real-world connection or even take place in the real world without the technical limitations of the video game world?
In my opinion, there is no “real” answer to this question as some people I know have this belief that we live in a video game like world. Others say that whatever takes place in a video game should stay there. I saw this discussed in a group that I’m in on Facebook. The question was, what GameLit/LitRPG book has the best RL(real life) world? Not a surprise, people said that the RL stuff didn’t catch their interest and the author had put more story in the game world while leaving the real world stuff out. In some cases, the real world was left out completely. I said to myself, “that sucks” because if executed properly, the real world could tie into the game world giving new possibilities.
Listen, I love reading stories set in a game world where the MC’s are trapped in a game. However, I think adding in the RL aspect makes the story more dramatic. It might even add in a new angle and create an opportunity for backstories and spin offs. I do understand the flip side of the coin, where adding in the “real world” could spoil the story and take away from the gaming experience. After all, we read books to escape reality not to go back into it. Also, I hear people say it’s hard to execute properly.
That leads me to my final question, how about GameLit/LitRPG books that take place in the real world without a game world. On a personal level, I have a Horror GameLit series that takes place in the real world with no indication of a game world, although there are game elements within the book such as ammo pickups and leveling up. There is clearly no role-playing either, as the characters are clearly playing themselves. For the most part, I’ve gotten great reviews and gamers still consider my horror series to be Gamelit despite the fact it takes place in the real world. I’m sure that there are other books in the genre that take place in the real world, I just haven’t read any of them.
In conclusion, I believe a GameLit/LitRPG book can have a real-life connection. It depends on execution and the bigger factor, people’s taste. RL in GameLit books might not be for everyone, but it did make for an interesting discussion and post.
What are your thoughts?
Author of LitFPS/Horror/GameLit. Representing the genre from the all-star island of Puerto Rico. Loves Video Games and Reading LitRPG!