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Possibly deranged writer seeking volunteers to revive series of terrible NES adaptations

By John Teti • November 5, 2013

Near the peak of the NES era in the early 1990s, very few video games were allowed to simply exist in game form. Instead, unspoken rules dictated that every video game had to be adapted and repurposed to within an inch of its life—as a crappy TV cartoon, a crappy breakfast cereal, a crappy comic book, or anything else that marketing types could dream up. The NES craze caught the culture by surprise, and mass-marketers responded by flooding the zone in a mix of profiteering of panic.

This crucible produced the Worlds Of Power series, a line of game-inspired novels intended to get the Nintendo generation interested in books. They were quite terrible, often taking huge licenses with the source material. In the book based on Castlevania II, for instance, the young hero first meets Simon Belmont in the boys’ bathroom of a junior high school. Because Simon’s backstory was always missing that pedophilia element.

Philip J. Reed of Noiseless Chatter has realized that, in retrospect, the idea of slapdash, anything-goes NES novelizations is pretty funny. Thus he intends to usher in a new era of hilariously lousy video game prose with a new anthology called The Lost Worlds Of Power. Reed is looking for volunteers to write short novels based on any of the hundreds of NES games that the original 10 Worlds Of Power books missed. Drafts are due by Jan. 31, 2014, after which Reed will select the best writing for inclusion in the free, electronic anthology. Yes, it’s a little different when the humor is intentional rather than accidental, but this still seems like the type of thing that could end up being a lot of fun. And it also seems like the type of thing that might interest Gameological readers, since many of you publish hilarious novellas in the comment threads on a regular basis.

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56 Responses to “Possibly deranged writer seeking volunteers to revive series of terrible NES adaptations”

  1. The Canadian George Wendt says:

    Hey, now, that Bionic Commando novelization was pretty darn solid.

  2. Oh man I am so in. I call Clash at Demonhead!

  3. dingdingdongdingdong says:

    Awesome! I just finished my collection of the series a few months ago.

  4. Carlton_Hungus says:

    Wait, one of the games they wrote about was the baseball game Bases Loaded II. How do you make a novel out of a sports game?

    • PaganPoet says:

      I believe A League of Their Own is loosely based off of Bases Loaded II. You didn’t know?

    • Philip J Reed says:

      Evidently they invented a whole slew of characters and turned it into a novel more about baseball than about the video game. I haven’t read that one (though I intend to…because I hate myself), but I’ve heard that it’s one of the better books. Which makes sense, because they’re writing about actual characters and not beholden to narrating the pew-pew-pew.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      It’s about the little sprite that wanted to be the icon indicating whether you were in pennant or vs mode on the main menu, even though he was runty and no one believed in him and his father was an alcoholic that used to be the icon on Blades of Steel before his drinking caused him to get kicked down to Colecovision titles.

  5. Mike Mariano says:

    Surprisingly, this is the least annoying thing featured for 1993 Week so far. This could be quite clever; thanks for pointing it out, John!

  6. Jacob Hilbert says:

    Master Blaster was great, so was Ninja Gaiden.

  7. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    Oh, man. I totally want to see a Barton Fink-style story about a writer unable to complete a Worlds of Power novella.
    “Simon Belmont. Castlevania story. Whaddya need, a road map?”

    • ItsTheShadsy says:

      Fade in on a garden outside Dracula’s Castle. Wolves are audible; as is the cry of the fishmongers

  8. Philip J Reed says:

    I appreciate that I’m only considered “possibly” deranged, but not as much as I appreciate the writeup!

    I’m the guy spearheading this, and seeing it covered on Gameological is intensely satisfying. Thank you!

    I’ll be checking the comments here, so if you do have any questions for me just leave them below. (Or, of course, contact me through the site linked in the article!)

    I’ve gotten a lot of fantastic pitches so far, with people intent on taking the concept in directions I never would have imagined. I’m very excited to see what folks come up with. (And if anyone’s curious, my own contribution to this tome will be Battletoads.)

    • Do you have any idea where to find actual copies of the original books? I’m reading your reviews and laughing appropriately, but I’d love to check out the full text.

      • Philip J Reed says:

        Years ago I found the Mega Man 2 one online in its entirety, but I don’t know if it’s still around. The ones I have now I bought on Amazon for review purposes, and they were all pretty cheap. (Used, obviously, but they were in good shape.) I don’t think any of them cost me more than $2 at the time.

        …maybe not the answer you were looking for, but I hope that helps!

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        Amazon has what looks like all of them listed for Used copies. Start from this link and you can see the others in the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section.

    • George_Liquor says:

      I’m a genuinely awful writer. Can I help?

    • Chum Joely says:

      Tragically, I’m not qualified, as I was not playing on consoles during that era. On the other hand, it might be fun to take on some more recent games (PC, console, whatever). Future project?

      • Newton Gimmick says:

        That would be a great follow-up anthology: “Worlds of Power” style stories for games like “Scribblenauts” and “Animal Crossing.”

    • Xyvir says:

      As I stated above. Cheetaman. Actions 52. Somebody. Go!

    • Chico McDirk says:

      Great concept, and I’d love to submit – I’m wondering how meta you’re willing to go, i.e. self-aware characters wondering why 8-bit music is emanating out of nowhere, or why every hole is bottomless and leads to death. Those are kind of pedestrian examples, and I know this type of thing has been rehashed every place that nostalgic gamers go to reminisce, so maybe you’re sick of it.

      • Philip J Reed says:

        Great question. I’m willing to let you get as meta as you like! (Incidentally, the Mega Man 2 novelization has a scene set in Wood Man’s stage, and the narration describes jungle drums playing “un-chuck-unka-CHUNK” or something equally evocative of the actual state music, so it’s absolutely fair game.)

        I do agree that this is the sort of thing that’s been done, but that’s why it all depends on how you do it. I’d concentrate on writing the best submission you can, rather than worrying too much about including certain things or excluding others. It’s the execution that matters most!

        Having said that, of course, I probably wouldn’t want to end up with a full volume of winks, nods and nudges. I’ll try to provide a wider selection of approaches, and from what folks are saying here and elsewhere, that won’t be a problem!

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      Also, Philip, thanks for stopping by to comment! Always cool when the article subject pops in. And even cooler when they create a Disqus account just to do so!

      • Philip J Reed says:

        Full disclosure: I’ve been lurking since TGS started. Seeing the above is a profoundly flattering and satisfying thing for me…and the comments make it even better. It’s a great community here and I’m so glad to see the positive reception for this. (It tells me I’m doing something right!)

        Looking forward to reading your submissions!

    • Dash Riprock says:

      I look forward to reading the first 2 chapters over and over…

  9. Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

    huh, do you think anyone will notice if I take “Shades of Grey” and just “find/replace” the names so its about what Bowser and the Princess did while Mario kept ending up in the wrong castle?

  10. ItsTheShadsy says:

    The Dark Wizard after he turned Mike Shanahan into a gross lizard!

    “Ha ha ha!” the Dark Wizard laughed. “You will never defeat me in the shadow dimension!”

    John Elway looked very upset and confused. He felt angry and was not happy. Just then, he pulled out his sword.

    “What is that?” the Dark Wizard cried.

    “Your doom!” Elway spouted.

    -Excerpt from John Elway’s Quarterback

  11. HobbesMkii says:

    Captain Skyhawk: Independence Day + Top Gun, and then you retire on a giant pile of money.

  12. Cloks says:

    If nobody has done Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I think it could be even better as a book!

    • Cloks says:

      Chapter 1: The Jekyll-ous world of Mr. Hyde

      Mr. Hyde was an innocent sort of man, the sort of man that has a certain air of innocence. He wasn’t known for rapidashidly (note to editor: Pokemon reference, possible future tie-ins?) performing surgery on any unsuspecting victims, especially not as a villain named Dr. Jekyll. That all changed when insert 25 cents to continue

      • PaganPoet says:

        Get to the back story for the dapper gentleman who casually drops cartoonish bombs around town. I want Orange is the New Black style vignettes interspersed in the main story, telling the story of how such a thing came to be. Use a fisheye lens.

  13. Matt Koester says:

    Finally, my Ice Hockey vs. Blades of Steel fanfic can get the respect it deserves.

    • Mike Mariano says:

      I can’t believe I didn’t call dibs on Ice Hockey first!

    • Jason R. says:

      Damn. I was going to write the tale of how the tough but fair Brerb Hooks took a rag tag bunch of overweight guys and a possibly anorexic center all the way to the championship.

      • Matt Koester says:

        Go ahead if you want. My story about Chubby Chuck, Average Al, Goalie Gary, Skinny Steve and Bryce “Hockey” Johnson probably isn’t going anywhere.

  14. andozero says:

    Haha, this sounds great. And the URL was a nice added laugh.

  15. Brian Bond says:

    I’m considering doing either Deja Vu or Uninvited.

  16. Xyvir says:

    If anyone writes a novelization based on Cheetamen from Action 52, whether or not it gets accepted, I will give them… urr… a month of reddit gold? If you are on reddit? Disqus needs to get some sort of gift/tipping system like that. Anyway, I would appreciate that very much.

  17. Jason R. says:

    Super Dodgeball as a Clancy-esque thriller with the good guys of the USA dodgeballing their way around the globe first defeating Commie proxies in the third world before taking the fight all the way up to the Kremlin.

  18. Goon Diapers says:

    I think I might have owned all 10 of those.

  19. Carniverous Ruminant says:

    Holy shit! I had completely forgotten about these. I owned a copy of Metal Gear that I probably read 30 times as a kid. I remember that Solid Snake’s strategy for getting past the superheated floor trap was to eat enough rations that it would raise his body temperature to a point where the radiant heat wouldn’t kill him. Even 10 year old me thought that the science behind this was fairly dubious.

  20. JokersNuts says:

    I was absolutely riveted by that Castlevania 2 novelization in 4th grade. Not to mention Blaster Master, read that puppy more than once!

  21. brokenwheelchair says:

    The 30 Lives of Mr. Contra.