I've talked about the old Worlds Of Power video game book series before, but now 1UP.com has gone the extra mile and tracked down the authors of those "classic" titles for a little backstory on how the project came to be and just what had to happen before the books hit stores. At long last, we learn the story behind the carefully crafted pen name "F.X. Nine"! Let us pity Mr. Nine and friends, for in order to write the books they had to play the original games... without strategy guides!
After he set a production schedule, chose the titles to novelize, and the authors to work for him, he had to create a 40-page "bible" for each game outlining the its plot, characters, and level layout. While these guides would make it easier for the author to create the narrative and dialogue, assembling them was quite a challenge. Most of the game companies were too busy to assist with the books, so Godin and the authors had to reverse-engineer the story by playing through the games themselves -- without the benefit of strategy guides.
And as we all know, nobody should ever have to play a game without relying on a strategy guide! Sometimes I think the gaming community is a little spoiled. I remember the old days when I had to figure out the riddles and challenges put forth in games without the help of GameFAQs. This may come as a surprise to younger gamers out there, but there was once a time where if we became stuck in a game, we couldn't jump on to the Internet to get a quick solution. Sometimes it took weeks to solve a particularly tricky puzzle. Now we all network and give away key gaming moments in walkthroughs and cheat code indexes on the same day the game reaches stores. Don't get me wrong; it's nice to have a little help sometimes, but nothing beats the warm feeling in my brain when I figure out something for myself without the help of text files and glossy magazines packed with maps.
But I digress. The article wonders if there is room in the marketplace today for books reminiscent of the Worlds Of Power library, and I'd have to say that there's always room for well-crafted fiction. While such stories will be primarily pitched at children, I must admit that if someone published a high level serious novel based on The Legend of Zelda I'd probably pick it up. Video games aren't just for kids, so why should the spin-off books leave out the mainstream popular fiction market?