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Slay the Dragon: Writing Great Video Games Paperback – September 1, 2015
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“A veritable treasure trove of information. A compelling look at the development and evolution of interactive narrative and an invaluable tool for anyone who loves games!”
—Drew Karpyshyn, lead writer, Mass Effect; author, the Chaos Born trilogy
“Practical and original advice on narrative writing for video games that treats the world of gaming for what it is: an emerging art form.”
—Aaron Bleyaert, producer, “Clueless Gamer with Conan O’Brien” on TBS’s Conan
“If you’re learning how to write for games or a developer burning to create games with better stories, I can’t think of a better place to start.”
—Haris Orkin, game writer/narrative designer, Dying Light
“In my years of working in the industry this is the closest thing to a bible of creative video game story creation as I have ever seen.”
—Larry Hryb, Xbox Live’s Major Nelson
“Bridges the gap between traditional narrative and non-linear storytelling and makes it simple. A required tool in the working writer's toolbox.”
—Philip Eisner, screenwriter, Event Horizon; consulting writer for Telltale Games’ Tales from the Borderlands
“A comprehensive but accessible guide for those striving to relate to the medium of video games from another entertainment medium. If you’re a writer from film or TV and want to understand more about games, this book should get you comfortable quickly.”
—Dan Boutros, executive producer, The Walking Dead Assault; co-founder, Soul Arcade
About the Author
Robert Denton Bryant has worked in Hollywood in both marketing and production, and in video games as both a publisher and a developer. He has been executive producer on dozens of games on platforms ranging from CD-ROMs to the iPad, including the bestselling World Championship Poker and Pinball Hall of Fame console game franchises. He is the coauthor (with Charles P. Schultz) of Game Testing All In One. He has lectured in the U.S. and Europe on game writing, and currently teaches at The University of California, Los Angeles and at Woodbury University.
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This fantastic new book on video game writing is now on my list of essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how video games are created, from table-napkin idea to concept to narrative to gameplay to mechanics to production and marketing. You will want to read this book ASAP if you're a screenwriter who knows story structure but needs to learn about game mechanics; a game developer who understands gameplay but needs to learn about storytelling; a film writer or producer looking for new markets; an educator who needs the most up-to-date textbook on game writing in an incredibly fast-changing market; or a game geek who wants to know more about what you love from the inside out. Basically, this book is for anyone anywhere who has a great idea for a game and wants to actually get it in writing while being coached by two very successful game writer/producers.
The text gets its structure from a highly regarded game writing course taught by the authors, with exercises and assignments suggested at the end of each chapter, but it is by no means a dry academic read. If I had to read this book for a class, it would be the most enjoyable, practical, inspiring, informative, motivating, and frequently hilarious textbook on my shelf. For example, in a chapter on story structure: “When stories deviate from these rules, we often find them unsettling, unsatisfying, or a Lars von Trier film.” Love that.
You know all of those books on screenwriting or story structure that you bought and read only to find out the author's main claim to fame was having optioned an idea a long time ago to that one guy for a web series that was never produced? This isn't one of those books. I actually know the authors of SLAY THE DRAGON personally and professionally. They are the REAL DEAL. They know what they're talking about, and you should listen to them.
The bottom line: Add this book to your writers' library, and you'll have a clear, concise, readable, and entertaining master class in the history, mechanics, language, tradition, and business of game writing and production that also manages to be extremely practical.