Computer Game Heaven: A Guest Post by George Ivanoff

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I recently watched the trailer for TRON Legacy with great excitement.

Why am I so excited about this? Well, I was a teenager in the 1980s when the original TRON hit the screens, and it was one of my favourite films at the time. It was about people going into a computer-generated world and playing computer games… for real! What could be more exciting?

As a teenager I spent most of my spare time either reading books, watching movies or playing computer games. The idea that these things could be combined, absolutely blew my mind. In its day TRON was a visually groundbreaking film, and even now, after all these years, it has a unique and captivating style. For me, it will always be the ultimate combination of film and computer game.

A couple of years after TRON, The Last Starfighter caught my attention. The premise of this film was that aliens were using video games as a way to test human beings. Anyone reaching a certain score on The Last Starfighter game would be offered the chance of becoming a real starfighter pilot in outer space. How cool was that?

The only other piece of screen fiction to capture the computer game experience for me, albeit to a lesser extent, was the animated television series Reboot in the 1990s.

Much as I enjoyed watching movies and playing games, it was reading that was my first love. So after seeing TRON, I yearned for a novel set inside a computer game. Imagine, then, my absolute delight at the release of Gillian Rubinstein’s Space Demons in 1986. It’s the story of four teenagers sucked into a computer game. This was followed up by two equally engrossing sequels, Skymaze and Shinkei.

So I guess it’s no surprise that I’ve made the computer game connection with my first novel, Gamers’ Quest. With this novel I made a deliberate attempt at trying to capture the feeling of a computer game within the pages of a book. There are different classes and levels of player, and there are different rules that apply to the different levels. The world that the novel’s heroes, Tark and Zyra, inhabit has the pace and excitement of a computer game, along with a feeling of tongue-in-cheek fun. It is non-stop action, and there is no sense of night and day. The characters progress from one challenge to the next, without sleeping or eating, with no real sense of time, until they reach their goal.

And to top things off, the book is accompanied by a computer animated book trailer.

So, were my endeavors worthwhile? Have I successfully recaptured my youthful obsession with computer games, distilled the essence into the written word and produced a book to loved by literary minded game enthusiasts? Only time will tell. But what I have done is written the sort of book that I would have loved reading as a teenager. What more could I ask for?


George Ivanoff's novel Gamer's Quest (Ford Street Publishing, 2009) recently won a Chronos Award for speculative fiction. Find out more about Gamer's Quest, George Ivanoff and his other novels at his website,

Are you a fan of books & movies based off computer games? Do you have any favourites?
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