Showing posts with label gaming. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gaming. Show all posts

Saturday, March 12, 2016

[Review] Dreamscape: Saving Alex - Kirstin Pulioff: Saving the Queen in a Video Game

In DREAMSCAPE, Alexis gets sucked into her favorite childhood video game.

What intrigued me: I'm forever searching for a book similar to READY PLAYER ONE.

Is she even in a game?

The world of DREAMSCAPE sure is interesting, but it is absolutely not what I expected. When Alexis first gets sucked in, we are presented a world that is more reminiscent of your average high fantasy novel than a video game. The aesthetics of a pixelated game are just missing and exchanged for real life people and objects. 
It doesn't feel at all like she's even in a game, maybe sucked into a very unoriginal medieval world instead. I missed all the little nods to pop culture that I loved so much about READY PLAYER ONE, and found it absolutely strange that Alexis didn't show recognition or fascination with anything that was happening, considering that she actually landed right in her favorite game.

Unoriginal High Fantasy Setting

The main quest of DREAMSCAPE is for Alexis to rescue Queen Elin, because she is immediately recognized as one of the Golden Heroes of the game. Until that plot line even begins, we are presented with lots of filler as opportunities to showcase the world, which just isn't original at all. I might as well could have read any medieval-inspired high fantasy novel and exchanged it for this one, it's full of cliches and at no point surprised me with its world-building. 

The perk of this way of storytelling is simply that it kept me going. I wanted to see whether it would get better, was desperately waiting for a fun twist that would make this original and unique that just didn't come.
DREAMSCAPE wasn't really what I expected, which doesn't necessarily mean that it's a bad novel. The voice is extraordinary believable for a teen girl, Alexis is a fun character to read about and the writing absolutely matches the pace of the story. It just wasn't for me, because I wasn't expecting a generic high fantasy story.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

If you were interested in this because you were hoping to find a book that's similar to READY PLAYER ONE, I'll have to disappoint you. DREAMSCAPE is a very unoriginal novel about a fantasy world instead of a fast-paced Sci-Fi adventure.

Additional Info

Published: April 12th 2015
Pages: 348
Publisher: Createspace 
Genre: YA / Sci-Fi / Virtual Reality
ISBN: 9781507726921

"Sixteen-year-old Alexis Stone is used to getting away from life’s frustration with Dreamscape, a video game she's loved since childhood. As her family prepares to move, a sleepy night of gaming pulls her into the world like never before. Trapped in Dreamscape’s realm, Alex is about to learn that being a hero has consequences… and this time, the stakes are deadly. Will helping the rebellion cost her everything she knows and loves? Or will she betray them to save her own life?"
(Source: Goodreads)

Do you have any recommendations for books set in a virtual reality scenario?

Continue Reading...

Thursday, June 18, 2015

[Recommendation] Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

In READY PLAYER ONE, a world-wide phenoma has taken over the lives of all people: OASIS, a virtual utopian reality in which everyone can be what they want to be is what most people spend their days playing.

What intrigued me: I decided to give this a try because everyone I know is absolutely smitten with it.

Extremely Addicting Storytelling

Cline has a very pleasant and engaging writing style. His writing is very fast-paced and he manages to build a lot of tension with his words. His biggest strength is definitely world building and plot. He makes the possibility of a future defined by a virtual reality game seem scarily realistic. I absolutely fell in love with the idea.
The novel needs about a hundred pages of introduction until it absolutely sucks you in. The second Wade finds the first clue, I was hooked and couldn't put the novel down. The pages flew by and I craved to find out what happens next! READY PLAYER ONE reads like a fast-paced action novel, without exhausting fight scenes. Even without knowing a single game mentioned in the novel, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time! I can't even explain how this novel and its world are so, so realistically portrayed and interesting that you don't want to put the book down. I needed about six hours - for a 500 page book. I'm not even a fast reader.

Strong World Building That Gets You Hooked

Wade is a very stereotypical underdog-kind-of character with a tragic past who lives in an abusive loveless household. The only thing that brings him joy is the virtual world of OASIS. He doesn't have any friends or close relationships in real life, which leads to him being absolutely dependent on OASIS and spending every waking minute with trying to find the easter egg. To me, his relationship to fellow hunter Art3mis wasn't really necessary. I'm not as fan of romance plots on the side.

Even though Wade has "known her" for a long time through her blog, they seem to fall in love too quickly and almost instantly. It just doesn't seem realistic for these two to fall for each other. Even though I wasn't a particular fan of Art3mis and Wade personally, I can't deny that their relationship is just adorable. I'd rather have seen him fall for his best friend Aech, with whom Wade has more chemistry and way more interesting conversations. Their interactions are super dynamic and extremely fun to read. The prose isn't what makes READY PLAYER ONE so special, but it's the lively dialogue and the extraordinary world building.

I'm just absolutely smitten with everything about this novel. There are some things that don't necessarily add up, like Wade having so little trouble with the hints even though everyone has been looking for them for years; or him getting out of the resulting trouble very easily. Regardless, this is an impressive read and outstanding for a debut novel. I don't usually read novels with action plots and gaming pop culture references, especially not about the 80s. I'm absolutely baffled and surprised that I loved this novel. I wouldn't mind a sequel.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

READY PLAYER ONE is definitely a very unique and interesting read. I can even imagine this being in turned into a super interesting and action-packed movie! As a child of the late 90s/00s, I wasn't really able to identify a lot of the novels, music, and games mentioned, but regardless, it was a great read. I absolutely recommend the novel to every gamer out there, and especially children of the 70s and 80s. I enjoyed every minute of reading this.

Additional Info

Published: March 26th 2012
Pages: 512
Genre: YA / Dystopia
ISBN: 9783764530907


"It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. 

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune — and remarkable power — to whoever can unlock them. 

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved — that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig. 

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle. 

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt — among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life — and love — in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape. 

A world at stake. 
A quest for the ultimate prize. 
Are you ready?"
(Source: Goodreads)

Would you want to live in a virtual reality?

Continue Reading...
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