Did any games influence your writing?

A week or two ago during a long car trip to Vegas, talk of old video games came up. There was mention of Beetle Adventure Racing on N64 and I had a flashback of driving through one snowy level and how, as a kid, I imagined it as a setting for my magical girl rip-off story. (Probably only because I played the hell out of that game and put waaay too many hours into it, lol. Kind of hard for the two main thoughts not to overlap.)

It was a strange memory, realizing I based an entire story setting on a pixelated level from a racing game, but it made me wonder if any of you got story ideas or found new themes/tropes you love from a game.

I can definitely also say that Castlevania: Symphony of the Night made me realize what a personal aesthetic was, and that it hit most of mine. :joy:

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All I can say is that my latest published book was inspired by three different stories in the original Nier.

In general? I think any game I played and loved has had an influence on me. Admittedly, because most of the games I love have characters and stories in them, but outside of those I think I’ve gotten a thing or two from them all.

Same with books and the like. I steal from everything I enjoy! :smiley:


I played through a lot of text-based games set up like a texting app last year - the lifeline series and a few others. That style of game gave me the plot bunny I based my November Nanowrimo novel on.

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Let just say that Squall Leonhart, Leon Kennedy, and Nero make appearances. With slightly different names and shifted personalities. I’m leaning heavily on the Garden concept from FFVIII.

Previously there were scenery ripped from FFV, Legend of Zelda, FFVII, Devil May Cry, FFIX, Assassin’s Creed…

Steal from one it’s plagiarism, steal from many, it’s research.


I was a Blizzard Entertainment fan way back when blowing up Draenor was a recent event. Heroes of Might and Magic, too, back when 3DO still existed, and they burned Enroth.

So I blew up a world in my 'verse, too. Only, it wasn’t some distant world of invaders. It was the cradle of civilization, riven by a great war (or, to be more pointed, a Great War). In having their world destroyed, those civilizations were unmade…

And so were the civilizations on that world’s consort, which spent the next 200 years being bombarded by debris which turned the seas iron green, and wiped away almost everything.

Pretty much all of my stories take place in the aftermath, on the surviving world.

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I haven’t used it yet, but I love the idea from Guild Wars 2 that the King basically said “If I can’t have the kingdom, no one can” and fried it. I want to use that somehow, but I need to make it different enough it’s not completely obvious.

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I just remembered something else much more precise. In my first published book, I took the plot twist from the game Dragonsphere.

It’s really an early reveal, but it was a big deal for me because as a child I never got that far in the game. We had a legitimate copy, but we didn’t have the manual and an important part of the game required you to answer questions that were only answered in the manual. It didn’t say which ones were right or wrong and there were I think five of them with four answers each. Needless to say, my sibling and I guessed for what felt like a million times to no avail.

But you can read about the twist right there on Wikipedia, because it’s so early in the game. To be young and not have the answers everywhere! But because that hit me so hard, that twist, I put it as an important plot point in that book.

In a weird way GLaDOS from Portal influenced an antihero dystopian psychiatrist character in one of my stories. She’s still one of my favorites.


And I just realized my protagonist is the Boss from Saint’s Row. And his partner is Gat.

He even randomly has a foreign accent at one point for no definitive reason (If you aren’t familiar with the games, in SR2 the ‘white’ voice for the Boss is randomly Aussie. And then it’s not in SR3 - though there is a British voice option)

I’m a great fan of Dragon age, esp DA2. This game is so bad in terms of gameplay, it has like two dungeons and you’re discovering exact same map 3 times in a 30h gameplay. But. It is my absolutely fav part bc of the story and characters. Like, i didn’t plan to go so hard on mage rights theme in my novel but now looks like it’s the main theme of the story. :upside_down_face: Things happened.
Also, games tend to help me with worldbuilding. I watch lots of Total War gameplays and it helps me with creating functional economy and diplomacy or visualizing maps and battles. I’m not copying game mechanics bc that’s just stupid, but you know, game devs had billion consultants that helped them with those stuff and we, poor writers have only ourselves so it’s only natural to look how those games with huge budget done this. I know some things abt economy but just seeing how the provinces and specializations work in Three Kingdoms helped me a lot. Also Anno 1800 is so good with economy, too bad not many people play this and I’m not paying that much for one game.


A lot of my writing is affected by video games, some of which actually the reason the stories exist in the first place. Square Enix games in particular has had huge influence. One story I have started out with the thought of Kingdom Hearts with firearms (instead of a Keyblade, how about a KAC Masterkey underbarrel shotgun?), so I ended up with a modern day monster hunting story. Then I had the thought at one point for Final Fantasy X (or it may have been X-2, it’s been too long) of what if there was special armor based on the Aeons? That went away pretty quickly, except for one concept: the Ifrit Armor. That was the basis for an urban fantasy story where creatures like ifrits and djinn exist, and the Ifrit Armor was used by those who are half ifrit and half human.

And then there’s Halo: Reach. During many times of playing the Long Night Of Solace level, during the dogfights in space, I found my mind wandering since I don’t have to put in so much thought into the game. Many little details for some of my stories showed up while playing that part of the game.

At least one of my stories are based on the lore of video games I’ve played (Monster Hunter). The main series games themselves aren’t very loaded with any lore of the world, but some of the spin-offs/Japanese exclusive games are, as well as what the developers choose to reveal, which isn’t much. Basically, there are mentions of an Ancient Civilization that once lived thousands of years before the games take place, but not much is known about why it fell (that I know of). I tried making a story that explains it in more detail, but…it quickly went from being a fanfiction of Monster Hunter to a fanfiction of a kid’s show, which isn’t very liked within the Monster Hunter community, and I just ended it after that.

The Aeons were in FFX, and the dress-spheres were in X-2. The Aeons mainly appeared in X-2 as one of their corrupted forms (different from the creature that transforms them into Sin). I’m trying to avoid major spoilers for the games, such as the name of the Final Boss, but that is an interesting concept to come up with, regardless.

I’ve played both FFX and FFX-2 and beaten them both. But when I came up with the concept, I don’t remember which one I was playing at the time. It doesn’t help that I got X-2 before X, even though I had borrowed X from a friend before.

Yeah, I don’t like playing games out of order, especially if they have an obvious connection in terms of story. It also messes with your understanding of what happened first. Did you ever complete the story you were working on with that concept?

On this topic, Codex Alera by Jim Butcher was supposed to be Pokemon meets the Lost Roman Legion (literally. It was a bet made at a convention panel) but what really brings it together is how much it’s based on Starcraft. Jim really took the basics of the Zerg lore and refined it to something that is clearly them, but much more detailed and interesting.

I didn’t play Starcraft until almost the end of Codex Alera (maybe after) and I was amazed by how much he expanded on it and made it make more sense.

Actually, the concept exploded into something even bigger than I was expecting, especially once I met my wife in the forums of the old NaNo site. Now we are working with all sorts of creatures from various legends and mythologies, gods and titans, and putting our own twist on some things. Some of my favorite twists has been what dragon fire really is, our rules for phoenixes, and how one of (semi) original characters ended up the consort of a god.

If I’m writing any kind of apocalyptic thriller kind of story, you could say I’ve been directly influenced by The Last of Us. The environment and images of the game pop up in my head whenever I just think of the apocalypse.

In one of my later books, some of the horror elements were inspired by the horror game Soma. It wasn’t necessarily a horror book, but it had its frightening moments, and I could definitely sense where exactly the inspiration came from.

I used Dragon Age: Origins to help me plot the novel I’m trying to query (major quests, subquests to gain allies, etc). I’ve changed it since then, but the early draft used that plot structure.


Straight up Legend of Zelda here. While Hollow Knight did influence my current trilogy a little, there’s so much lore and setting and magical items/puzzles from Zelda that I love to put into my writing. I also like the “rule of threes” that comes with the checks and balances of the triforce. I’m definitely pulling from a lot of Zelda when I eventually get to my sci-fi Arthurian legend retelling…if not just straight-up doing a novelization of each of the games.

I also think the Smash Bros. series influenced my writing, as my first science fantasy trilogy included a lot of different characters from science, history, and mythology. They each came from their own “world” (so to speak), so combining them together in situations to see how they’d react is something I enjoy writing. Even my second trilogy, The Constellation Tournament has a ton of match-ups between varied characters in much the same way Smash Bros. does.