Video games is one of the few entertainment mediums that actively immerse you into their world through the combination of graphics, audio, video, and your interaction with it. A well designed video game with properly crafted story, e.g. Horizon Zero Dawn, is a good complement if not the better option if you are looking for inspirations for your next piece of writing, especially if you are a fiction writer.
Fiction writing for me truly started during my secondary school days when I wrote fan fictions based on a video game franchise I played. It gave me a strong base to start from so that I only focus on telling a story with existing characters or elements. It allowed me to train myself to tell a story.
Through the act of playing video games and immersing yourself in them, you can picked up a lot of things subconsciously that included the theme of the game, environment designs, character designs and behaviors, and the message, if any, that it is trying to tell you.
It was those materials that enabled me to start a series of text-based role-playing games where I honed my planning and team work skills. The planning skill subsequently enabled me to create ideas for trilogies. Sad to say, those text-based role-playing games are no longer available online because the players, including myself, have moved on with more important things in life. But there were many important lessons learnt. Whether I can recall those lessons consciously is another matter.
Video games can also help you to discover yourself. One of it is teasing out your preferences or maybe even reinforce what you already know. In my case, after having played so many different titles, I found myself gravitating towards games that are either space opera, military actions, mystery, exploration, supernatural powers, or unconventional societies. Sometimes you can find games with a combination of those themes. Some examples are Mass Effect, Halo, and Starcraft. So when it comes to my fiction writing, you will also find aspects of those themes because I truly enjoy those. And playing those games help to expand your mind to the possibilities.
In addition, I also enjoy games that featured darker themes like extreme violence, torture, horror, and sexual references. Some examples of those games are Condemned: Criminal Origins, F.E.A.R, and Resident Evil. These days, my writing also contain those elements because I want the readers to feel concerned, worried or dreadful as they flipped the pages.
They can also help you to break through writer’s block by taking your mind away from writing. It’s no different from going out for a stroll in the park but with the added advantage of it could give you a sudden burst of ideas that you could subsequently used. There were times when I was running on empty, after playing a couple hours of video games, I found myself inspired or motivated to write more.
Recently, I stopped playing video games for two months and found myself practically running on empty again. What I already have in my head are ideas that I have long harbored but they aren’t useful in my current writing. I tried reading a fiction book written by someone but it don’t seem to do much to me. I suspect it was because of the style of writing and the overall direction of the story doesn’t really interest me. So it’s not the book’s fault.
I figured I probably should sign in to my Steam account and start getting some games to play to re-inspire me or re-motivate me again.
Now, I’m not going to pretend I’m Stephen King or any of those New York Times bestsellers. Who I am is a writer who needs a balance between creating and consuming. Video games just so happen to be powerful source of inspiration and entertainment for me. It’s so much better than watching a movie or a show on Netflix. Reading books is ranked second when it comes to source of inspiration and entertainment.