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Bet You Didn't Know These 4 Authors Made Their Own Video Games

If we were to flip a coin, we bet you wouldn't guess that these authors had not only contributed great works to literature, but to video games, too!

Developers and game writers provide amazing stories often involving characters and complex plot lines -- some that even rival literature and film. In a way, stories in video games are not that different from those found in their paper and cellulose cousins, and many authors feel that way, too. 

When moving away from the literary world, fiction and nonfiction writers often come into the gaming industry as game writers or developers. They often bring with them the skills of narrative complexity and highly creative writing. Some writers are vociferous in telling the world that they're working on the next big game, but some keep to themselves.

On the note, we bet you didn't know these four highly-acclaimed authors have dabbled in digital sotrytelling -- and to great effect. 

 

Neil Gaiman

Gaiman is well known for his horror and dark fantasy works, such as Coraline, American Gods, and The Ocean at The End of the Lane. On top of those literary masterworks, he's also written graphic novels, film scripts, and comic books. But he's also worked in the video games industry, collaborating with a small company called DoubleFine. 

Together they created the game called 
Wayward Manor, which involves a ghost from a distant time trying to keep its house from falling into the clutches of new homeowners. The game may be not be highly popular on Steam, but it does give off Gaiman’s essence -- and creepy story-telling panache. 

Clive Barker

Barker focuses on horror and fantasy fiction and has written dozens of novels, like The Damnation Game and Galilee. He's also written a series of short stories called the Books of Blood. But this author does more than just write novels and short shorties. He directs films, too, such as Saint Sinner and Candyman. On top of that, he's written screenplays, painted works of art, and even created his own video games, like Undying. But there's more. 

Along with Codemasters and Alchemic Productions, he created the terrifying Jericho, which takes players into a lost city where the Firstborn lives, an utterly terrifying and nightmarish creature. It's one of the most underrated horror games of all time, especially when you consider that Barker is the mastermind behind it all. 

Orson Scott Card

Card writes stories in various genres, like science fiction, thriller, fantasy, and historical fiction. But many know him through his work on the Ender’s Game series and The Tales of Alvin Maker. He's also written poems, essays, and critiques. He's a prolific writer, not bound by conventional literary standards. 

But in the 1990s, Card contributed wrote dialog for titles like Loom, the Secret of Monkey Island, and The Dig. But in 2000s, he also wrote the screenplay for
Advent Rising, despite the fact he did not come up with the storyline.

Harlan Ellison

Ellison mostly explores speculative fiction, which combines mystery, horror, supernatural fiction, and science fiction. Some of his most recognized published works are A Boy and His Dog and Mefisto in Onyx. Like Barker, Ellison writes more than just shorts stories and novellas; he also writes screenplays and comic scripts, venturing into different types of mass media, like literature, film, and print.

When he moved into video games, he collaborated with Cyberdreams and game writer David Sears to create a PC game based on one of Ellison’s short stories, I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream. The player’s goal is to prove that the human race is better than machines -- and to this day, it is one of the most terrifying horror games ever created. 

Bonus: Tom Clancy

Clancy’s name is well-known in the gaming industry, especially for his Rainbow Six military and espionage games. Many players should recognize games such as Ghost ReconWildlands, the Splinter Cell series, and Rainbow Six Siege as works by Clancy. 

But in the literary world, Clancy published other stories, like
The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, and Sum of All Fears in the 1980s through the 1990s. Many of these were translated into films, starring actors like Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck.

***

Video games and books may be different mediums, but these four writers prove  that both worlds are not that different. It may be difficult or intimidating for some writers to move into another medium, but while looking at Barker, Gaiman, Card, Ellison, and Clancy, anything seems possible. All it takes is a good story to catch the attention of gamers and readers.

Who are your favorite video game writers? Let us know in the comments below! 

Published Apr. 10th 2017

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