Throughout the past year, you may have seen me mention a non-fiction book I’ve been writing, and I’m so glad to finally get to share that project with you: The book is a video-game criticism/memoir hybrid about the 2000 Bioware computer game Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn, a title widely praised as one of the best role-playing games ever made. My book will be part of Season Two of Gabe Durham’s Boss Fight Books, a “series of critical, creative, historical, and personal books about classic video games,” launched last year as “the 33⅓ of video games” (for those of you more familiar with that great series of books about individual music albums).
I’m currently in the editing process with the book, and I’m having a lot of fun: I’m writing about game mechanics and narrative through the lens of a novelist, looking at BG2’s plot design via Milan Kundera, or violence through Martin Amis and Anne Carson, or character creation via Kate Bernheimer and Philip Pullman. I’m writing about the year the game released, which was also the year I dropped out of college, got fired from my first real job, moved back in with my parents and started writing; and about growing up playing D&D and other computer games side by side with my brother Nick, my partner in all things imaginative for the first two decades of my life. And I’m also exploring the experience of co-writing an official D&D novel called The Last Garrison with Matthew Simmons under the pen name Matthew Beard, written the summer I graduated from my MFA program, the same summer I was studying with Gordon Lish and drafting In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods. And of course there’s plenty of both celebrating and critiquing the game itself, one of the most important RPGs of all time.
The first season of Boss Fight Books was funded through a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $45,000 dollars in pre-orders (far above the goal of $5,000), and so we’ve returned to Kickstarter to launch Season Two, where in just over an hour the campaign beat its target, funding my book plus others about Metal Gear Solid, Spelunky, World of Warcraft, Bible Adventures, and one more title to be selected by the backers. It’s still the best place to pre-order one or all of the new books this season, including mine, so I hope you’ll check it out and order one or all of the books this season: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gabedurham/boss-fight-books-season-2
Thanks to Gabe Durham for letting me a part of the series: I really enjoyed Season One, which saw some excellent books from other writers like Michael Kimball, Ken Baumann, Anna Anthropy, and Michael P. Williams. And thanks to Ken for the cover design for my title, which like all the books in the series depicts some real-world object that relates to the game: In my case, that’s a role-playing miniature, alongside a hamster alluding to BG2 fan favorite character Boo, the “miniature giant space hamster” carried into battle by the barbarian fighter Minsc, whose catchphrase “Go for the eyes, Boo!” has been making gamers laugh for fifteen years.
Thanks in advance to anyone who checks out the Kickstarter campaign. We really appreciate all the support Season Two has already received, and I look forward to releasing this book to you early next year.
"Baldur’s Gate II" and "Matt Bell" are not two things I ever expected to see on the cover of the same book.