About Writers, Freedom of Writing, inspiration, Uncategorized, world-building, Writers Co-op

JK Rowling Loves Minecraft

Novelist, screenwriter and film director Alex Garland is a big fan of BioShock, loosely based on Ayn Rand’ self-interest-championing philosophy of objectivism as outlined in her novels Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

Harlan Ellison collaborated with Cyberdreams and game writer David Sears to create “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, “a PC horror game based on his short story of the same name.

Tom Clancy is well-known in the gaming industry, especially for his Rainbow Six military and espionage games.

Authors play video games for the same fun & relaxation reasons others do and they sometimes pick up tips on world building, scene progression, and character differentation.

I play video games to push thoughts of what I’m writing aside, to someplace in my mind where they’re free to evolve without me consciously picking at them. For me, much of life is like swinging through trees. You have to regularly let go to make any progress.

Do you play video games? Which ones do you prefer? And, do they in any way contribute to your writing?


31 thoughts on “JK Rowling Loves Minecraft

  1. I suspect we write better if we also take time to relax. For the record, I’m currently playing Fallout 4 on xBox. It’s a role playing game that puts you in the Boston area after a nuclear war. The game world is so detailed that you can walk the streets and enter buildings (that really are) there. Well, what’s left of ’em, anyway.
    It’s a world full of game characters that interact with you. 179 voice actors perform over 13000 lines of dialogue, including Ron Perlman as the radio DJ and Wonder Woman’s Lynda Carter who sings jazz songs that she wrote and performs in an underground subway station now converted into a bar named The Third Rail.

    Fallout 4 released in 2015 and generated 750 million U.S. dollars in sales within its opening weekend. It continues to evolve and still grosses over $35 million a year. (Eat your liver out, Hollywood. Times have changed. And TV? Who wants to watch a show when they could be in it?)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I, too, am a big fan of Bethesda RPGs. And flight simulators. And turn-based strategy games such as the Civilization series and Matrix Games’ back catalogue. (Thousands of hours spent not writing. Take that, rejecting/ghosting editors! I am not convulsed by agonies of frustration, self-doubt and/or despair when dungeon-delving a shadow-haunted ruin in Skyrim, flaming a Messerschmidt over London or conquering the world entire for the hundred-thousandth time. Long live the Reed Imperium! Benevolent tyranny imposed upon the masses via tank blitzkrieg and air assault the better to heighten over-all literacy, crop yields and the building of marble-columned museums packed with cultural treasures. Veni, vidi, vici. I conquer in order to enlighten. I swear to Mars and Athena!)

    Liked by 3 people

    • LOL Carl! I sometimes think the difference between video games and real life is not content, but rather, that you can turn off a video game. Basic human behavior does not change in a game (or in a cartoon, for that matter.) We just get to play human in more imaginative ways.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. MamaSquid says:

    I’m anxiously awaiting the 2021 release of the sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn. The first incarnation was an exquisite sci – fi adventure with such an innovative concept. Sifting through the remains of modern civilization to piece together the overarching story made me feel like an archeologist. And shooting robot dinosaurs with a tricked-out bow was fun too.

    Generally I prefer solitary RPGs and resource building games. I’ve sunk hundreds of hours into Diablo 3, I’ve dabbled in Skyrim, and I love the comfort of Stardew Valley and the excitement of Subnautica.

    Since so many games have well-crafted stories these days, there’s bound to be something to inspire. The only problem with gaming as an adult is there is so much less time. As the mother of a toddler, I’ve found it challenging to find time to write, much less play games. But when Horizon: Forbidden West comes out, I will find a way!

    Liked by 3 people

    • MamaSquid, I’ve played way too many hours of Diablo but Horizon Zero Dawn is not a game I’m familiar with. It sounds subtle and intriguing. Thank you for the tip.

      As a grandfather, I can offer you a tip for the toddler, though, that should free up some game time. Although my own children have recently stopped asking me to babysit their toddlers for reasons I don’t understand, I do know that you can strap an Oculus Quest VR headset on the kid’s face and then go play your own game. (Be sure to tether the kid to something. He’ll think he’s walking and playing. He’ll have a good time.)

      Liked by 2 people

    • BOOOO! Just kidding, Mike. One understands: This is how you have managed to write entire novels. Good for you!

      One quibble: I don’t . . . ahem . . . “play video games” either. I immerse myself in rich alternate worlds that afford one’s avatar an opportunity for extensive creative role-play; I master the intricacies of flight via the sophisticated modeling of historic aircraft and weather; or I scratch that compelling intellectual itch for challenge and escapist recreation via engagement with any number of turn-based computer simulations.

      :::a beat:::

      So uh, yes . . . I play video (they are displayed on a monitor) games. Guilty as charged. Too many, too often. :::sigh:::

      :::kicks dejectedly at rock, hands jammed into pants front pockets:::

      I will certainly never write the multi-volume In Search of Lost Time. I might pen the haiku Now Where the F@#k is that Dime?

      PS. H. P. Lovecraft once sniffed that people who play board games “suffer from an excess of intellectuality”. Really, Howard Phillips?! You of all people level that charge?

      Liked by 3 people

  4. So, gaming, yes, my immersion goes back to college days, playing D&D with a bunch of misfits (the DM became a physician; I did the Ph.D. thing; another is a financial analyst) in the late 1970s. My best buddy and I frequented video arcades, playing Joust and Wizards of Wor, and Gauntlet. I later walked through the story line in Halo, got blasted from all directions in Duke Nukem, and leveled a Troll character up to 30 in Warcraft. On computer I played Balder’s Gate and Dungeonkeeper.

    I’m looking for a new video game and am glad to read more about the ones you folks have been ganking.

    I think some distraction is needed, if you are a writer. Anything that tickles the imagination qualifies–doesn’t have to be games. I do like collaboration more than competition.

    I’m guilty of late for getting involved in time-wasters, what I heard referred to as “the economies of distraction.” So I’m up to level 41 in that phenom of a game that came out in 2016 and had people across the globe hunting down imaginary critters for collecting. I also play a Tri Peaks Solitaire game. Both are phone apps.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. «For me, much of life is like swinging through trees.  You have to regularly let go to make any progress.»

    So true.  Tho not into video games, I do find that distracting my conscious mind(s) often frees my unconscious mind(s) to work on things from odd angles.  Major distractions include cooking, DIY repairs, and yardwork.

    Liked by 3 people

    • No Angry Birds? Tetris? Microsoft Solitaire or Mine Sweeper? Electronic pinball? Casino simulations? Chess or checkers? Electronic sports game: baseball, soccer, golf, hockey, football? Bingo? You never snuck in a session of Counter-Strike or online Battleship, played an Atari or Nintendo game cartridge, or screamed “SEGA!” at bemused neighbors? C’mon, Mellow–‘fess up! Your shameful gaming secrets are safe with us. (Cooking, DIY repairs and yardwork?! Ya might as well mention dusting, thumb-twirling or helping old ladies across the street as relaxing distractions–these pursuits are more “video game” than your wholesome constructive pursuits. Heh!)


      Liked by 3 people

      • Really, no video games.  I figured that listening to music or reading books and blogs would be too commonplace to mention here, so I just mentioned some possibly idiosyncratic distractions.

        Helping old ladies cross the street?  Nah.  Where I live, whoever drives the car always finds a place in a parking lot.  But I have been known to double-time on the way to a door that an old lady might need help with.  Canes, wheelchairs, and such.  I’m getting old myself and gotta be more careful about this, as the following mildly comic misadventure illustrates.  Every word is true.

        I’m walking toward a podiatrist’s office with a heavy exterior door, separated from the parking lot by a sidewalk.  Seeing a frail old lady heading for the same door, I speed up to get there in time to open the door for her.  I trip on the curb, break the fall with my left hand, and get a bone bruise on my left shin anyway.  But I do manage to open the door for the old lady and then enter for my own podiatrist appointment.

        The receptionist notices that my writing hand is leaving blood on the paperwork and offers to have my hand bandaged.  A medical office can do that sort of thing, right?  Not quite.  Podiatrists are specialists in feet, not hands.  It takes a long time to locate minimally appropriate bandages and then apply them well enough to prevent me from making the office look like a crime scene.  (Slow flow, but from all over the palm and side of my hand.)  Shin and hand do heal in the fullness of time, but the retreat of the toenail fungus that started it all is only temporary.

        Liked by 3 people

    • MamaSquid says:

      I recently took up knitting for a similar reason. Video games are great, and sometimes they give me story ideas, but they don’t help me solve writing problems. I think it was Neil Gaiman who said boredom was a necessary part of the creative process. I don’t find knitting boring, but it does free up my mind to be idle and thus more creative.

      Liked by 4 people

  6. Perry Palin says:

    I’ve lived at the end of the line where the internet service is so slow that video gaming would be difficult or impossible. I don’t know what I’m missing, and maybe that’s okay. It’s neither a distraction nor an inspiration for my writing.

    I have plenty of inspiration in knowing and watching people, both alone and in groups, and in books. I’ve been reading from my wife’s pile of crime novels and mysteries, and I wake from dreams where I am a third person omniscient narrator of stories starring others.

    For distractions I have reading and farm work and animals and insects and fish, and walking through forests and fields. And sometimes these distractions appear in stories. No electronics necessary.

    Liked by 4 people

    • It makes sense to me, Perry, that living near the end of the internet service line has it’s own attractions. Farms, forests and fields offer timeless distractions. I grew up in Ohio farm country and if the Internet vanished tomorrow in a blaze of solar storms, I really wouldn’t miss it.
      P.S. One may have to be our age to appreciate Joni Mitchell’s line:
      “…they paved paradise and put up a parking lot…”

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Socializing is a big part of online gaming. A common refrain is, “I came for the game but I stayed for the people.” Ingame, you form opinions of others based on their behavior, not their looks. This opens opportunities to get to know people you might not look at twice in real life.

    I distinctly recall a saleswoman becoming engaged to an audio engineer. She flew around the country selling musical instruments to retailers while he sat in a semi-darkened room in California designing and testing equipment. She was very outgoing and suffered from Lupus. He was brilliant and extremely shy. Neither her Lupus nor his shyness were curable. As they got ready to meet in real life, I asked her if she knew what the hell she was doing. She just emoted smilies and told me, “Here, you get to know the real person before you see them.”

    Liked by 3 people

  8. victoracquista says:

    I don’t play video games much anymore. The reason is they have gotten more complicated and elaborate. Years ago, I really enjoyed Masters of Orion, a strategy game. I thoroughly enjoyed Myst, a non-linear ground breaking game in its day. I gravitate towards RPG/adventure single-player games. The Witcher was pretty good but there have been too many to count.

    They are a nice distraction and provide entertainment. I agree that we need downtime and this helps my writing in general, but I don’t think video games uniquely help me in my writing. Downtime in any form works.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Victor, It seems every possible profession now utilizes video games. According to an AMA article, med students can reap the same benefits of massive multiplayer online role playing games by collaborating with their peers and educators in clinical learning environments. “They are coordinating, getting together and building plans. They’re able to adapt different characters, build environments and move in [them].”
      – Suraiya Rahman, MD, assistant professor at Keck School of Medicine at University of Southern California

      Here’s three popular med ed games.

      “Prognosis”: “This [game] is similar to how we all teach and learn clinical diagnostic reasoning,” Dr. Rahman said. “Prognosis” provides clinical cases with pictorial representations of physical exams. Students can ask for labs and images for a simulated patient, and the game will generate them. This allows students to test their decision-making skills and assess their clinical knowledge in a risk-free virtual environment.

      ”Medical School”: With this video game, premedical students can roam the virtual walls of a medical school, treat patients in clinical settings and order exams. “The game creates an environment where students can imagine they’re walking in and can ask the environment to do something for them …. It tries to simulate some of the work we do and the order [in which] we do it,” Dr. Rahman said.

      “Microbe Invader”: This game lets students operate as busy clinicians in an understaffed virtual hospital. They can “diagnose patients by ordering lab tests and matching the symptoms and history to bacteria that fit the presentation.”


      Liked by 3 people

    • I’ve put in hundreds of hours on MOO, Victor! 80% of those on the original version. A truly great, addictive, just-one-more-turn strategy game. It still runs on DOS/BOX for modern PCs. I still prefer the original–VGA graphics and all–over the remake. What a triumph it is to conquer the robotic Meklar home world of Meklon, or add a hot-house jungle planet to the Empire after a regiment of drop-shipped soldiery emerge victorious after engaging in savage hand-to-hand combat against the bear-like Bulrathi! Long live the Reed Imperium! (Err . . . your imperium may be differently named. . . .)

      Liked by 2 people

  9. mimispeike says:

    I’m trying to think of something, honest. What do I do to relax from writing?

    I play with my paper dolls, but that’s more work than the writing was. Maisie is having her second pass fittings on thirty outfits now.

    I find that the hats need more work than the outfits themselves. Turns out my mouse ears strategy number two is a bust. Those hats have to be converted to strategies number one or three. Damn those pesky mouse ears!

    Liked by 3 people

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