LitRPG is finally growing into a major player in literature. The history of its origins is ever-present, its leading authors ever-popular, and its audience ever-growing. So, why is it not as popular as other genres? Could it be due to the lack of exposure in mainstream media? How about the lack of proper promotions outside of the gaming community? Though its rise to becoming one of the most electrifying and gripping genres of the decade is well underway, and believe me it’s about time, LitRPG is constantly having to battle for its rightful place at the top because not many people consider it a “real genre.” Litworld, a publishing house that is now translating and publishing its 10th LitRPG novel after the success of the first Fayroll book, is striving to change the way LitRPG is viewed on an international level.
LitRPG, short for literary role playing game, is a literary genre that combines science fiction, cyberpunk, fantasy, and MMO gaming. The genre wraps all of these together and gives us an awesome virtual world full of references to online gaming. In keeping tradition with MMOs, LitRPG books like “More Than A Game” put the main character through quests to level up and even become the hero of the story. Quests are an essential plot device in LitRPG books.
A lot of people claim to be the creator of this genre, but, to be completely honest, there isn’t a way anyone can actually prove it. And no one would believe them if they did! The rise of online gaming in the 1990s directly contributed to LitRPG. LitRPG originally gained popularity in Japan, Korea and Russia. With its popularity, the genre began to be translated into English. Some of the more popular authors of the genre include Andrey Vasilyev, Paul Bellow, and Aleron Kong.
The basis of LitRPG has had its roots in popular culture since the 1980s. Movies like Tron and The Last Starfighter expanded what video games could bring to the world of entertainment. The 1990s brought about a rise in online games such as Ultima Online and Everquest. As online gaming grew, so did its main target audience. With the target audience of online gaming working full time jobs and starting their own families, some didn’t have the time to play online anymore. That’s where LitRPG comes in.
An interesting aspect of LitRPG as a genre is that it is easy to get caught up in the action even if one has never actually played an MMO before. In “More Than A Game,” the main character is a tabloid reporter who writes about pop culture. He never dreamed of getting into virtual gaming. However, once he’s in, he’s hooked. Look, I played WoW for like 5 minutes before I decided that I’d rather watch TV. Those MMOs are endless, so what was the point in me playing if I wouldn’t be able to reach a higher level? LitRPG takes care of those by using the main character as a device. Once reading it, you become the hero! Readers go through the virtual reality space through the eyes of the main character and experience all quests as if they themselves were in the world, just like countless other books!
Another interesting part of the genre is how easily it divides both the real world and virtual world. The real world is similar to the one we occupy now, where no fantastical beasts or thrilling quests ending in possible death occur. Once in the virtual world, all of the rules from the real world are tossed out the window. The only rules that matter are the ones the developers of the world wrote.
Like other genres, LitRPG’s main goal is to immerse readers into an environment they typically wouldn’t be in. This specific genre does it by using gaming terms like NPC, quest, levelling, grinding, and so on. By the end of a book, gaming terms are engraved in the reader’s brain even without having touched a computer!
LitRPG isn’t a new era of literature. It’s simply a new way of approaching the concept of gaming. What this genre rides on is the wave of audiobooks, though. Having enticing narration and music to accompany the book adds to the gaming aspect of the genre as well.
LitRPG is considered “active reading” as much as any other genre. It’s just another form, extension, and dimension of active reading. It sparks a mental experience and transformation.
This burgeoning genre is finally revealing itself to the world outside of the gaming community thanks to publishing houses like Litworld. Series like Fayroll and Project Chrysalis are paving the way for non-gamers to get into the new virtual world of literature. LitRPG fights to take its place both in the reading world as well as the gaming world.
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