There are plenty of crazy fictional videogames seen in TV and movies. That's because games can be great devices for mainstream storytelling, or exciting opportunities to come up with a game without actually having to build it. But what about the awesome game ideas we never see at all? The ones springing from the imaginations of novelists and writers who don't realize that the only way anyone consumes media these days is through a Netflix account? A lot of fiction's coolest videogame ideas haven't been visualized, let alone made into actual games and then perfected as Uwe Boll movies.
Here are 10 amazing videogames that are currently only available for the Frontal Lobe 360
10 Mega-Mutilation Part Three (from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling)
This game only gets mentioned in one of Harry's letters to Sirius Black, so the Goblet movie never shows us Dudley Dursley's favorite fictional title for PlayStation. All we know is how great the name sounds, and that Dudley didn't get to play any more MMP3 after he threw his PS1 out a window, which happened during an "I WON'T go on a diet, Vernon and Petunia! Also, Harry is can literally kill any of us by pointing a stick and saying a couple words, we should probably be concerned about that" freakout. And yes, it's hard to justify Dudley feeling like a victim when he lives in the same household as tormented orphan Harry Potter, who is pretty much systemically emotionally-abused by every single adult he comes into contact with. But don't assume Dudley's lack of perspective about life means he doesn't have a good sense of which gory violent game was the best gory violent game of the 1990s. Obviously Mega-Mutilation Part Three is great, but just too awesomely violent for J.K. Rowling to describe to kids in detail.
9. Swordfighting in the Metaverse (from Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson)
Neal Stephenson predicted an Internet-like experience called "The Metaverse" that's the center of his 1992 novel Snow Crash. Of course, he wrote it before the Internet became the point-and-click funzone we know and love today, so he guessed it would be avatar-based (as in "virtual representation of you," not "last airbender" or "blue cat-people"). Instead of browsing the Internet with Chrome, Snow Crash characters would browse the Metaverse with CHROME (my ideal personal Metaverse avatar that looks like Robert Patrick's character from T2: Judgment Day), controlled by virtual reality goggles. Today, Stephenson says it's like getting an entire Internet experience by hanging out with your WoW Clan. And what makes the Metaverse so awesomely WoW-ish? Virtual samurai swordfights with any Metaverse user, something our stupid real life games have only fumblingly begun to imitate. So read Snow Crash to imagine yourself slashing through the novel's hero and protagonist (name: Hiroaki "Hiro" Protagonist. Yes, really.). He's the world's greatest swordfighter, one of the best hackers around, and a below-average pizza delivery boy, living the life we all dream of.
8. Chamber Music Hero (from FoxTrot by Bill Amend)
Jason Fox and his best friend Marcus have played a lot of videogames over FoxTrot's run. With this one all we get is a genius idea and a few sight gags
so fill in the rest yourself, with your imagination! Like the super-easy first level that's "Für Elise", which I just made that up, just like you can. Although really, Symphony Band is probably way better.
7. Barbarian Invaders, a clockwork arcade game (from Soul Music by Terry Pratchett)
Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels take place in a (flat) world with the approximate technological savvy of early-1700s real life. So when recurring local pub The Mended Drum tries to entertain patrons by installing an arcade game, the game is a big mahogany cabinet full of gears. It's got rows of descending wooden Barbarian Invaders and a little lever-and-pulley catapult for firing pellets at them, so it's basically Space Invaders made by carpenters and powered by water (but with EXTREMELY life-like graphics). This is the kind of thing your grandpa would build you if he wasn't "retired" and "eighty-seven" and "struggling every day with his arthritis" (read: LAZY). Also, the game only gets played by one character in the book (a librarian who's also an orangutan). He breaks Barbarian Invaders by powering it with beer instead of water, which makes the Barbarians move drunkenly, and makes this game even more realistic, because every game is better with booze.
6. Only You Can Save Mankind, the space war game that takes over your dreams and asks you to save everyone (from the Terry Pratchett novel of the same name)
1992's Only You Can Save Mankind is one of Terry Pratchett's best non-Discworld books and has a really well-titled title game (unlike Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which feels like the NTSF:SD:SUV:: of modern shooters). Unfortunately OYCSM only exists in a book and subsequent musical, so it's the coolest-sounding game you'll never actually see played. Book protagonist Johnny Maxwell plays the game expecting an exciting battle between humanity and the evil reptilian Scree-Wee Empire, but he wins immediately and the Scree-Wees quickly surrender. That's when the game gets really interesting, because Johnny dreams his way inside of it, finding himself personally responsible for giving the victorious human forces something to do and helping the defeated alien invaders return home. If you've ever wished StarCraft had an innovative set of objectives and lots of great jokes, you were really just wishing this Pratchett idea was available on Steam.
Sideplot side note: Johnny's best friend Wobbler designs his own game in the book, and calls it Journey to Alpha Centauri. It's a real-time simulator where traveling to Alpha Centauri takes three thousand years. This would be a strictly fictional game, but some masochist bothered to actually build it IRL), so just try to ironically enjoy that one to the end you Desert Bus fan you.