Thursday, May 18, 2017

Guest Post: Kristi Charish's Top 5 Video Games and a Giveaway

We're so excited to have Kristi Charish, author of The Adventures of Owl series, back on the blog! In her latest, Owl and the Electric Samurai, Owl has to save the designers of her favorite game from bounty hunters. Kristi's here to tell us about her gaming inspiration.

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Top 5 Video Games That Inspired World Quest 

For any of Owl fans out there, you are aware of Owl’s fascination and love of the online RPG World Quest. Some of you also know that World Quest comes from my very own adoration of RPGs. Below is my must play list – and where my World inspiration comes from. 

1. Never Winter Nights/Balder’s Gate: An oldie but a goody, these two computer video game series were both based off of Dungeons and Dragons role-playing games. Heavy on adventure with a campaign style narrative - this was some of my very first exposure to narrative in video games, and some of them were outright complex. Balder’s Gate was also one of the places I got the idea for Captain from, courtesy of Minsk, the giant ranger warrior with a Russian accent and Boo, his hamster familiar. These were also some of the first role playing video games that seriously attempted romance lines, though it wasn’t until the next games on the list that romance in games really hit its stride.

2. Dragon Age: I remember when this game came out. It was 2009, and I’d just finished another run of a Never Winter Nights 2 expansion when my boyfriend came home with a game called Dragon Age. Now, I wasn’t a console girl – I liked my games on the computer, even so I decided to give it a try…My boyfriend never got to play the game. I ended up clocking in more than a hundred hours over two full play throughs. Dragon Age is often referred to as the spiritual successor of Balder’s Gate and Never Winter Nights. I’d actually call it the rebellious love child of the two – the game play takes the best from both and adds some incredible narrative. I’d even go so far as to say that the story elements in Dragon Age were revolutionary with regard to narration in game. For the first time we were seeing complex romances and award winning fantasy level quests. Dragon Age is not your 90’s videogame. It’s award-winning fantasy all on its own, with an interactive twist. Not a videogame fan? Bioware took care of that. They made the game so that the barrier to entry is "never picked up a controller" level.

3. Mass Effect: This isn’t just a video game. It is one of the best pieces of Science Fiction produced in the last twenty years. Unsurprisingly this is the sci-fi sister to Dragon Age, made by the same studio and many of the same staff writers (FYI, if you haven’t read Patrick Weekes’ Prophecy Con series you should. He is one of the Bioware writers who have worked on both series. I highly recommend him if you enjoy the Owl series). Like Dragon Age, Mass Effect is chock full of adventure and humour. There is also romance, intrigue, and tons of space western antics. Buckle in and giddy up!

4. Uncharted: When the sequel to Uncharted came out, there was a Dear Playstation Commercial where a gamer asks Playstation what to do about his girlfriend mistaking Uncharted 2 for a movie...48 hours in. It wasn’t misogynistic, it could have been a roommate or a boyfriend. I was that roommate - making popcorn while someone else played, making them pause when the cut scenes came so I didn’t miss anything. The Uncharted series plays like an epic Indiana Jones movie (without The Crystal Skull). It is textbook adventure gaming – scratch that - Naughty Dog wrote the textbook on writing an adventure game.

5. The Witcher: Another epic fantasy series, this one from Poland and based off the bestselling Polish series by Andrzej Sapkowski. I didn’t start playing this until the third installment, and was I ever missing out. This is a mix of all the Slavic fairy tales I grew up with. Something bad happens in the story and you want to reload and start the scene over? You learn fast that there is no happy ending or right choice. Everything has a consequence. Compelling storytelling and an authentic introduction to Eastern European myths makes this a must watch/play.

Kristi Charish's latest, Owl and the Electric Samurai, is out now.
Watch for my review on the blog next week.

26385258Owl and the Electric Samurai
(The Adventures of Owl #3)
Kristi Charish
Release: May 8, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
The third exciting novel starring the unforgettable antiquities thief Owl—a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world. From the pen of rising urban fantasy star Kristi Charish (Owl and the Japanese Circus) and for fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Jennifer Estep, Jenn Bennett, and fantasy lovers everywhere.

The International Archaeology Association (IAA) is responsible for keeping all things supernatural under wraps. They’re also responsible for ruining the promising archaeology career of Alix Hiboux, better known as Owl.

Needless to say, Owl’s still a little sore about that.

Just to keep Owl’s life lively, the IAA has opened a bounty on the two designers of World Quest, the online RPG that is much, much more than it seems. Owl needs to locate the notorious gaming duo before the other mercenaries do. But finding the gamers won’t be easy since every clue points to them hiding out in the legendary lost city of Shangri-La. Not to mention that the last time Owl and the game designers spoke, their conversation didn’t exactly end on the best note…

Meanwhile, undercurrents of supernatural politics are running amok in Tokyo, dragging Owl and her friends into a deadly game of wits with an opponent who calls himself the Electric Samurai. The cost of losing? All-out civil war between two powerful supernatural factions. All in all, just another great day on the job.

Kristi Charish is giving away one of her books of your choice, Owl and the Japanese Circus, Owl and the City of Angels, Owl and the Electric Samurai, or The Voodoo Killings. You can also choose your format, a signed paperback, ebook or audio.
(U.S./Canada only)

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