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Check It Out

Courier Article by Charles Sutton
Sunday, October 12, 2008

Explore books that can enhance your gaming experience

Looking for a good book? Consider your favorite computer or video game.

Consultant Beth Gallaway says games are "just another format to tell a story. ... They have plot, setting and characters." Therefore, a favorite game title might help in finding a favorite book.

First-person shooters have a broad range of characters, including military ("Call of Duty"), counterterrorists ("Rainbow Six") and private military ("Army of Two").

If first person shooters are appealing to you, the following might be of interest:

"Sunrise over Fallujah" by Walter Dean Myers is a follow up to "Fallen Angels." It is a timely account of the Iraq war. Robin "Birdy" Harris and his Civilian Affairs unit put a human face on war. The strategy is to hit the enemy with shock and awe and then win the war by making friends and helping the people build a democracy. But war is complicated, the Rules of Engagement aren't straightforward and neither is winning.

"Sunrise over Fallujah" doesn't shy away from the realities of war. Full of believable characters and a steady pace, the adrenaline, the boredom, the uncertainty and the melancholy become acute. This is an excellent book for discussion.

In "Useful Fools" by C. A. Schmidt, the line between terrorist and freedom fighter is obscure. Should the people fight to overthrow an oppressive government or be useful fools, used by the bourgeoisie to "cushion the people's misery?"

Magdalena worked to improve her Peruvian community until a revolutionary organization assassinates her. Why? That's what Alonso wants to know. After the death of his mother, Alonso feels betrayed and vengeful. He joins the revolutionaries, but is that what he's looking for? Nothing is pretty; nor are there easy solutions. Judge for yourself.

Maybe epic fantasy or MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft or Runescape interest you.

In "The Magician: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel" by Michael Scott, Dr. John Dee desperately needs the last two pages missing from the Codex to restore the Lost Elders to power. Nicholas needs the book back. His life and the world we know depend on it.

Sophie and Josh were average teens just a few days ago. Now, they are "twins of legend" with special gifts. Ancient creatures, immortals and humani form alliances and fight to survive. This series won't disappoint.

Are puzzle and adventure games similar to Soduko, Tetris, or Myst your style?

You might like "Jellico Road" by Melina Marchetta.

"Jellico Road" has all the elements of puzzle and adventure games, problem-solving, exploration and quests, including some role-playing.

Taylor Markham is the leader of the UC, which is at war with the Cadets and Townies over territory. She must negotiate positively and avoid a coup d'etat. As if that isn't enough, memories of her past and the disappearance of Hannah are weighing on her. Can she piece it together and keep her sanity?

As the story develops and the connections are made, it will be difficult to put this one down.

Choose a video game genre, theme or setting, match that to a book subject, genre or author and explore other titles to enhance your gaming experience.

Charles Sutton is a teen specialist for the Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library. Contact him at 428-8217. The opinions in this column are personal.