Monday, March 15, 2010

Romance Novel...and Video Game?

I love my romance columnist gig for BookPage because once a month I get a box of treats like this advance copy of Nora Roberts latest book in her Bride Quartet (comes out in May). But more than the luscious cake caught my eye when I looked it over...the back cover talked about a VISION IN WHITE (Book 1) video game.

For you--not because the Daylight Savings change turned me sooo lazy--I had to check it out. For free, you can download an hour-long demo. How would a romance novel translate into a video game?

Let me tell you how it works. There are 20 "chapters." As each opens, a few sentences of the story are set up in Mac's (the heroine) voice. Then a scene is displayed chock-full of items and you're given a list of them to find before moving onto the next scene. You can play in either timed or carefree mode. There are bonus games to play also. I decorated a cake and also took some photos to earn extra points.

This is nothing like reading a book, though I enjoyed the pretty scenes set about the Brown estate that were much like I imagined. However, Mac and her hero, Carter, are cartoon-type drawings, which didn't exactly fit my mental image. As to the finding-the-item games themselves...I'm not that good at them. I had to call Son2 in to help me a couple of times (needless to say, he was excellent at this). I did, however, really like decorating the cake.

You do get a sense of the story, too. I didn't make it far before my hour ran out (yeah, that's how good I am at the finding-items games), but I could see playing it again instead of yet another round of solitaire. It looked as if you could replay it too--I imagine it gives you new lists of items to find in each scene if you do a chapter over.

Are you interested in a romance novel as a video game? Do you play something like Solitaire on your computer like me?


Paula R said...

Hey Christie, that is pretty cool. I don't play many vidgames, but one that is linked to a romance novel, is one that I would take the time to check out. Sounds like a lot of fun, and it would be cool to see if the scenes you imagined were anything like what the game creators came up with.

I only play solitaire with real cards. It just doesn't seem as much fun to play on the computer.

Peace and love,
Paula R.

Keri Ford said...

Look at you Christie, rubbing it in AGAIN that you have this advanced read! I wish I had something to rub back, but I don't think I do! (maybe the question is, how do I get YOUR job as a reviewer!)

I think a video game set up like this would be fun, but I'm not sure about with this story or a contemporary setting. I'd want to be doing what the characters are doing in the book and I don't remember Mac going around looking for a lot of things. but it's probably still fun all the same.

Something like a suspense set up? that'd probably work really well for me. You'd have a 'get the bad guy in the end' goal to play towards. Pick up clues along the way, it would be very Zelda like and I am a big Zelda gal.

Emmanuelle said...

Christie I'm so envious !! Next month I'm in the US and I'll be able to buy this book on TIME (well this one and some others... DH is gonna freak out btw ;-).
Now I'm definitely curious about this video game thing. I'm not sure it will get me addicted like romance novels can, but it must definitely be fun (in particular when related to books I've loved reading).

Christie Ridgway said...

You can check out the game for free, you guys. I thought it was fun, even though Mac didn't actually look for things in the book.

She "takes" (voice over) Carter to a wedding meeting, and then you're in the meeting room with stuff on the table, shelves, etc. and you look for specific items. There are no people in those settings.

Emmanuelle! Where are you going to be in the U.S.?

Christie Ridgway said...

Paula: The nice thing about Solitaire on the computer is that the dealing is faster, though that has its own therapeutic effect, I think.

Keri: Sorry about rubbing it in on the ARC! Can't help myself.

Emmanuelle said...

Christie - DH, the boys and I are doing one of those road trips we love so much. That means a LOT of driving and sight seeing. This time we'll land in Chicago and spend the week-end with my aunt and uncle, then we'll drive south to New-Orleans (nah you read correctly), just stopping for the night in Memphis. We'll stay in Nola for 4 days and then drive to western texas and visit houston, Austin, San Antonio (we'll do SeaWorld of course, kids are acstatic, there is NOTHING quite like it in France), Dallas and then back to Chicago for our flight back home. All in all that's 2 weeks and a half. I can't wait, it's been 2 years since my last US trip (right now I'm at the small crosses on the wall stage ;-).

Anonymous said...

I LOVE hidden item games. However, I don't usually pay much attention to the story behind them, so one based on a book...well, I wouldn't 'read' it. Sorry, Nora. :(

Christie Ridgway said...

Ah, Emmanuelle, that sounds like so much fun! Too bad you're not going to be nearer to the west coast (where I am). But I know you'll have a fab time.

Anonymous: I'm not so good at the hidden picture game. I'm sort of the trees and not the forest person, and I think you have to look without really, um, looking (if that makes any sense) to be really good at that kind of thing. As I said, my kid was excellent at it.

Terry Odell said...

I'm with Christine on computerized solitaire. The shuffling and redealing seems to be such an effort with real cards. How times have changed!

Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Christie
The game sounds like fun - and if I were a gamer, I'd probably try it.
Spider Solitaire is on my 'warm up' list for writing. Have tried to wean myself off of it but never have any luck.
like an addiction... I've gotta have my spidy :o0

Christie Ridgway said...

Cindy: Surfer Guy is addicted to Spider Solitaire too! We have a laptop that's supposed to be "mine" and I hardly have a chance to touch the thing, since he's always playing on it.

I just play the regular Solitaire.

Kathleen Eagle said...

My granddaughters love to play video games that allow them to decorate for weddings and dress the characters. They have "My Life" and "DS" gadgets, too. The sound on these things gets to me after a while, and we do limit the time they can play. If reading is involved, we cut a little more slack.

I'm not interested in video games. I don't think it's just age--I never liked arcade games. I was an avid board game fan as a kid. I like card games with read cards. I use the internet a lot for research and news, and I write on the computer, so I guess I want something else for leisure.

I have long seen the market appeal for adding value to a book with interactive stuff online. I remember discussing it with an editor at RWA quite a few years ago. They were looking for outtakes to put up online, like deleted scenes from movies. I thought the "added value" should make use of computer sound and graphics capabilities. Interesting discussion.

catslady said...

I've played the hidden object games that don't have stories and it may be interesting (or not) lol. They're fun for a while and then I get bored but it probably would be interesting. I tend to get hooked on games like bejeweled lol.

Liza said...

I like the "find the hidden item" games. Most of my games for my DS are those types (Women's Murder Club, Nancy Drew and a few others). Would probably like it for the DS, but not so much if it has to be played on the computer. More of a Spider Solitaire fan on the computer.

BTW, you are so lucky to already have the next book in Nora's Bride Quartet series.

lois greiman said...

I'm not much of a game player, but I'm interested in this multi media kind of stuff. I would have guessed a video game would be more of a match for a suspense novel though.

lois greiman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Helen Brenna said...

I play spider solitaire sometimes on my computer. Sometimes as a warm up and sometimes if I'm stuck on a scene. It seems to help me feel like I can solve problems. Like I'm in control. lol Silly, I know, but it often works.

Not much for video games, otherwise, so I don't think this would trip my trigger.

So fun you get to read all these arcs!

Christie Ridgway said...

I do feel lucky to have the advance copies! But the length of my wait for the next book is the same as everyone else, starts at a different time.

The thing about the game is that it's not really a question of "solving" anything that has to do with the book. I'm thinking that might be hard to do, since if you'd read the book you'd already know who the villain was or whatever (if it was a suspense-y thing).

Anna Dougherty said...

I might just have to check this out. I think a better video game would be for her JD Robb series though- more mystery, crime, cops and bad guys, plus the futuristic setting.

Lois said...

I love the hidden object games, but I only will play the ones that have no clock counting you down. And no, it's not because I'm really bad at it and I take over; quite the opposite, actually, I'm pretty good, I just feel it's a game, I don't need added pressure on something that really doesn't need it. LOL Visions in White is one of them, and I'm playing it when I can. I love the Harlequin Presents one too, have done that one a few times now. Does it make me want to read it. . . hmm, well, I already read plenty of Presents before doing that one, and I don't read Nora Roberts, and even if the story is just a minuscule tad of the actual book, well, I'm liking it, but not sure if I'll end up getting it -- sure read plenty already! LOL