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6 Books Perfect for Gamers to Celebrate National Video Games Day!

by  | September 12

Let’s face it, the world is kind of a garbage fire right now. Self-care is real and, personally, I turn to TV, video games, and books when I need a little escapism. Video games are great because you can fully immerse yourself in a new world, assume the role of a character who is often unlike yourself, and make decisions that directly impact your (ahem, I mean, your character’s) chance of survival. My favorite type of games are female-centric and heavily story-based (shocking, I know), with a bit of action thrown in. In fact, I just finished playing The Last of Us and am anxiously awaiting news of the sequel’s release!

Whether you’re into RPGs, first-person shooters, survival horror, or MMOGs, these books will make you feel like you’ve never left the virtual world.

The Impossible Fortress

The Impossible Fortress

by Jason Rekulak

Billy Marvin loves his computer, his friends, television, and programming video games. It’s 1987, and for a fourteen-year-old, that’s about as great as it gets. But Billy soon meets Mary Zelinsky, an expert computer programmer, and his life completely shifts. Here’s how that comes about: Playboy publishes scandalous photos of Wheel of Fortune’s Vanna White, and Billy and his friends hatch a plan to steal a copy of the magazine by seducing the daughter of a convenience store: Mary Zelinsky. What Billy doesn’t expect is to fall for Mary and have to decide whether he’ll break a promise to his friends. This book is filled with 80s nostalgia, nerd culture, and tons of video game references for the gamer in all of us!

Netflix optioned the rights to the book earlier this year, so make sure to ready it before it gets adapted for the streaming service!

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SLAY

SLAY

by Brittney Morris

I will never tire of writing about this book. SLAY follows Kiera, a young black gamer who attends high school like your average teenager by day, but by night runs the expansive online RPG world known as SLAY. SLAY is unique because it was built as a place for people of color to truly be themselves. Kiera’s world is turned upside down, however, when she learns a SLAY player is murdered because of an in-game dispute, and an anonymous troll threatens to sue her for anti-white discrimination. SLAY is Ready Player One meets The Hate U Give. But it’s more than that. SLAY gives voice to the millions of black gamers and blerds (black nerds) out there looking for safe spaces to be themselves in a world so ready to take those spaces away.

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Ready Player One (Media Tie-In)

Ready Player One (Media Tie-In)

by Ernest Cline

A friend of mine recommended this book to me because I love video games, but this story was so much more than I expected it to be. Set in the year 2045, Ready Player One follows a teenager named Wade who spends most of his time in the virtual world of the OASIS. The creator of the OASIS has hidden clues within the puzzle of the world, and once Wade finds the first one, he becomes obsessed with winning the contest—which becomes a race to survive. If you’re a fan of video games, the 80s, or just good old-fashioned science fiction, you won’t be able to put this novel down.

via GIPHY

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HALO: The Fall of Reach

HALO: The Fall of Reach

by Eric Nylund

If you’ve played any kind of first-person shooting game, then you’ve probably heard of HALO. The game centers on a war between humanity and an alliance of aliens known as the Covenant. The focus is on Master Chief John-117 and his artificial intelligence (AI) companion, Cortana. The book series, of which The Fall of Reach is the first novel, expands on the world established within the game to give fans the origin story of the Master Chief. This one is perfect for fans of the HALO games or anyone looking to dive into the story for the first time!

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Significant Zero

Significant Zero

by Walt Williams

Author Walt Williams is the writer behind famous games like Star Wars: Battlefront and Bioshock. In this book, he gives gamers an inside look at the video game industry, which so often keeps its doors closed even to the biggest of fans. Williams details his time at one of the world’s top gaming companies and also dives into the violence in games and why the industry is so addicted to it. This book is a must-read for any gamer looking for more insight into what can be an elusive industry.

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The Road

The Road

by Cormac McCarthy

Remember when I said I just finished playing The Last of Us? Well, the game director mentioned The Road as one of the inspirations for that game, so I had to include it on this list. The Road is a post-apocalyptic novel following a father and son as they walk through a burned America. Similar to Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us, this father and son have only a general direction of where they’re headed, a pistol to defend themselves, the clothes they’re wearing, and each other. This is a story of a journey that imagines a world that has lost hope, and how two people find their way in the face of total devastation.

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Nicole Sam contains multitudes. She is a huge fan of graphic novels, SFF stories, and reality TV. When she isn’t at the office, you can find her attending cons around the country to experience her favorite fandoms IRL.