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LitRPG: Grinding For Loot, But In A Book

Typewriter Post Apocalyptic Representation LitRPG

LitRPGs are a new (in the grand scope of literature) concept. It’s like reading a video game. To be clear: this is not a video game book adaptation. The genre is more a an adaptation of the feeling of sitting down to play a video game. Sound crazy? It is, but LitRPG books are as addictive as the MMORPGs they are inspired by.

What is LitRPG?

Think of the first MMORPG that comes to your mind. I’ll go with World of Warcraft, a classic. A World of Warcraft LitRPG would not tell the story of a main character, say, Arthas, from said character’s perspective. Instead, a World of Warcraft LitRPG would tell the story of the player. Specifically, how the player navigates the game world, and overcomes obstacles created by the game mechanics.

There is no official LitRPG rulebook, but many in the genre share similar characteristics. They deal frequently with leveling up, gaining experience, and finding loot. The key to remember is that the world of the LitRPG book is a literal game world. The player knows they’re in the game, and they (usually) have to play by the game’s rules.

Types of LitRPGs

There are as many different subgenres as there are in something like Fantasy or SciFi. If there’s a video game, somebody wrote a book about it. Some of the more popular include traditional MMORPG, post-apocalyptic, survival. There are even 4x LitRPGs (think Sid Meier’s Civilization series). The jury’s still out on the Untitled Goose Game adaptation.

We have a Fallout-inspired book series currently out on Kindle and in paperback, either for purchase or free through Unlimited. Check out book 1 of Terra Reforma if you like cyberpunk, leveling up and looting the corpses of slain raiders.

Origins

Like plenty of iconic literature, LitRPG as a genre has Russian authors to thank for the development of its popularity. Before these “true” versions of the books emerged, though, it’s possible the genre evolved out of the advancement of “stuck in the game”- type books. Ready Player One could probably be looked at as the most famous example of this genre, although it’s a bit like saying Clash of Clans is the best RTS ever created. You can go further back to books like William Gibson’s revolutionary cyberpunk novel Neuromancer to find the framework for a true video game novel.

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