Skip to main content

Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Happy World Book Day! A look at when games and books collide

A few of our favourites.

Happy World Book Day! What better way to celebrate on Eurogamer than to think of some of our favourite connections between games and books. We hope you have a lovely day spent reading.

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy.Watch on YouTube

Meeting a freshly formed team of unlikely heroes with a perfect balance of contempt for one another and sarcastic quips would have been enough, but M.K England took it one step further. Their book seamlessly alternates between the present time, before we meet the team in the 2021 game, and 12 years before that, where a young Peter Quill encounters Ko-Rel while battling the Chitarui on Mercury. Sure, inferring parts of their relationship in the main game is part of the charm, but having a book that explores a big point in the history displayed between the Commander and the rogue Ravager makes their eventual alliance all the more bitter-sweet.

- Marie

Elite's novella, The Dark Wheel

Not satisfied with creating a procedural Thatcherite universe filled with trading, dog-fighting, and a pure thrill of exploration, the original Elite shipped with a novella by Robert Holdstock, called The Dark Wheel. This is a seriously good idea, and it's a shame more games don't opt to include something like this with their physical releases. Art books are fine, sure, but an actual piece of fiction? Yes please. Or maybe just a few poems. Looking at you, Mario.

- Donlan

BioShock and Ayn Rand

BioShock.

If you're going to create a failed state for a video game, it helps if you have some ready-to-go failed state philosophies to back it all up. No wonder, then, that Rapture's creators co-opted Ayn Rand's work for its tale of a rotten city where everyone's completely vile.

- Donlan

Skyfaring and Flight Sim

Flight Sim predates Skyfaring, but the book and the game are natural siblings. Flight Sim gives you the entire world to coast across, while Skyfaring, by British Airways pilot and natural poet Mark Vanhoenacker, is a searching examination of why we love the sky so much, and why flight is such a glorious human experience. This book rules, even if you're afraid of flying. In fact, if you're afraid of flying, it actually helps a bit!

- Donlan

PUBG and Lord of the Flies

PUBG
PUBG. | Image credit: Krafton

Or more specifically: that one bit on the little starter island while everyone's loading into PUBG, and Lord of the Flies. Funny how when you drop a load of virtual humans on a virtual island, and only give them the tools to jump, crouch, fire guns, and punch, that it soon devolves into mindless violence. Makes you think!

- Chris Tapsell

Mass Effect: Revelation

And it was a revelation, this book. It was the first book, I think, that ever accompanied Mass Effect, written by the game's lead writer Drew Karpyshyn in order to introduce BioWare's new gaming universe to the world. It was the origin story, really, about humans discovering the Mass Effect relays and then what happened next - how humans joined a galactic council and started hanging out with other species, which I found - and still find - just the coolest idea ever.

But more importantly, it built up the idea of becoming a Spectre - a super-elite soldier chosen to do the Galactic Council's bidding, and given permission to basically act as they see fit. The book introduces the human Spectre hopeful David Anderson, who you and I know as Captain Anderson, and Saren, a Turian Spectre and the antagonist of Mass Effect 1, and it laid the groundwork for everything that was to come. More importantly, it provided the dramatic context for that moment at the beginning of the first game when you, as Shepard, are made the first human Spectre ever.

- Bertie

Dragon Age: Asunder

Dragon Age: Origins artwork.
Dragon Age.

I don't only read BioWare books, I promise! Asunder was the third Dragon Age book and it filled a hole between the second game coming out and the third - Inquisition. More importantly, it told the story of a ghostly killer stalking a Templar tower, someone not quite in the same world as everyone else. I remember them feeling like a really intriguing character, someone just out of the reach of understanding. I really liked the portrayal. So it was an absolute delight when they - Cole - were announced as a recruitable companion character in Dragon Age: Inquisition later on. And they remain one of my favourite companions from that game, probably as a result of spending more time with them in that book.

- Bertie

The Witcher and The Witcher

It feels like a symbiotic relationship at this point, where both game and book enlarge each other, but it can't have been easy living up to the responsibility of portraying a well known tale. And it's only now that I'm actually reading the books, after the fact as it were, that I'm beginning to appreciate the care and attention that went into making the games. There are so many side-quests, or seemingly throwaway remarks, that call back to things in the books. It's all in there, it seems, in some place or another.

- Bertie

Read this next