1. This is a spreadsheet of games that appear in fiction (movies, books, whatever really). Add to it, if you like!2. Obviously no need to fill in all the fields unless you want to - other contributors might well fill in the rest from "title", and I'll go through and fill in more later.3. If you're happy to be credited for contributing, put your name in the box numbered 4, a few to the right of this box. Thank you! Holly.4. Names here:
Josh Hadley, Margaret Robertson, Dan Higham, Nick Lange, David Hayward, Martyn Brook, Gary Siu, Andrew Lightwing, Paul Rissen, Sophie Sampson, Tom Armitage, Gareth Briggs, Jodi Crisp, Mary Hamilton, Chris Pheasey (although all I really did was change the vertical alignment of all the cells to 'centred'), Kevan Davis, Clare Lovell, Daniel Nye Griffiths, Naomi Alderman, Sarah Dobbs, Justin Pickard, Tim Mannveille, Elizabeth Lovegrove, Robert Mackay, Amanda Forsyth, Ruth Ball, George Buckenham, Susannah Davis, Tony Coles, Daniel Lopez
TitleFormByAudienceDoes it turn deadly?Game typeDesigned byPlayed by: DetailsCommissioned byWhat goes wrong [Spoilers!, often]
21Filmcasino hustle wannabesNoCardTradition
.hack//Legend of the Twilight & sequalsManga (NB: the franchise covers anime, manga, novels, video games of several stripes)Tatsuya HamazakiComic readers? I think I picked up the first one in Waterstones, thoughI could never afford to complete the series! (massive problem with comics :( - think there are 24 books, which is pretty low for manga series)MMORPGThe AuthorFictional online gamersA brother and sister play a fictional MMORPG called 'The World' using character designs that one of them won in a competition. Something really odd happens in-game, and it seems like the avatars might be more significant that they knew. It all starts when a mysterious AI gives them an artefact and they have to solve the mystery of her/it. Hints at ethereal goings on at AI level beyond human game design. The bad guys in this world are the Admins, deleting everything they can't control.there have been three "generations" of the .hack media franchise at this point, with something like 20 series: they all take place in the World. If you want to get a hyperconcetrated version of it, and are a USian, I recommend checking out .hack//Quantum on Hulu.
$la$her$FilmMaurice DevereauxCanadiansIt's kind of designed that wayGame showJapanese TV creatorsA selection of reality TV archetypesJapanese tellyOne of the contestants is a horrible rapey murderer type
999: Nine Persons, Nine Doors, Nine HoursVideo game (VN: kind of like a novel, in a way.)Aksysthe sort of person who happens to enjoy life threaening situationsall over the placeEscaperich bastards who like watching people get deseperatePotential psychics and teenagers, seeminglyContestants volunteer to go into a maze populated with homicidal maniacs and try to stay alive till the end. Mysterious person!If you don't have the bracelet which opened the door, or one of them, you die! You were also kidnapped, some of your fellow players have gone through this game before and are thoroughly traumatized, your kidnapper may be in there with you, and someone may murder you! Multiple timelines as well, with one "true" timeline.
A Deadly Game, CastleTV episodeAndrew W. MarlowePeople still bummed by the end of Murder, She WroteYesARGSpyventures Adventure GamesAdrenaline junkies, professional types, bored housewivesBog-standard spy-based ARG/persistent LARPOne of the spy handlers uses the players to ship fake IDs to Ukrainian students without the players' knowledge. Someone gets shot.
A Game At ChessPlayThomas Middletonthe audience of The Globe in 1620s LondonCaptured characters get sent "to the bag". One pawn is castrated, another nearly murdered.ChessBlack and white 'chessmen' representing English and Spanish rulers / nobility Complicated. It's all to do with satirising a proposed royal marriage between England and Spain. Black Queens and White Virgins and 'Fat' Black Bishops do battle. The whole play is designed as a game of chess. The Spanish lose. It ran for about a week before getting shut down by the authorities for causing an international incident. Written for the King's Men, passed by the censor of the day (who presumably wanted to piss off the Spanish) It all goes wrong for the Black team (Spain) of course... One of them is tricked into boasting of his naughty deeds and foul vices. The game is lost (and the marriage is Orf.)
A Game of Thrones / A Song Of Ice And FireBook/TV ShowGeorge RR MartinLivejournalVeryNot a gameThe warring families of Westeros and EsterosSee "Designed by"Nominally about a "game of thrones", there is in fact no real game at all, just dynastic bickering and a lot of deathPeople who want to rule the countryPretty much everyone who gets near the Iron Throne dies. Anyone they like tends to die. Sometimes people die through no fault of their own. The reading public get bad backs from the size of the books they have to carry
Alice Through the Looking GlassBookLewis CarrolKidsNoChessDreamed by the Red KingAliceNot sure if this quite works, but the World is a giant chessboard, and if Alice can only get to the 8th square she is made a queen. Which turns out to be less fun than she imaginedAlice inadvertantly wins the game by shaking/capturing the Red Queen, and putting the Red King into Checkmate. The Red Queen turns back into a naughty kitten and Alice finds herself back home in front of the fire. But as she never knew the win state, this was clearly an accidental victory.
All the King's HorsesShort storyKurt VonnegutYesChessFamilies of POWsIt's chess... but the pieces are REAL PEOPLE who get KILLED (yes, another one of these)
An episode of Gossip GirlTVteenage girlsno but some feelings are hurtLiveunspecifiedThe Gossip Girl in-crowdA party is centred around a pervasive game played on the streets of Manhattan. Everyone has a polaroid around their neck and are trying to snatch the polaroids from other game players. If yours is snatched you hand over any that you are carrying and whoever has the most is the winner. Or is the person who manages to improve their social standing the most during play the real winner? WHO CAN SAY?Um, probably the party plannerPeople keep getting caught in compromising situations, and the person who wins the game finds he has lost at life, as his girlfriend spent the time he was playing 'getting to know someone better'
Apprentice AdeptNovel seriesPiers AnthonyOh god. Teenagers who don't know better I hopeYyyyeah, probably?ContestThe GovernmentEveryone, and then once a year there's a special competition where the winner gets to become a CitizenThere's a complicated grid-based system to choose different types of competition, and then people play each other at a few different competition types, all from a really big possible selectionThe GovernmentIt's a slightly fun concept so it probably kept some people reading when they would have stopped otherwise.
Avalon (2001)MovieMamoru Oshii Alternate reality/sci fi/dystopia fansThe virtual reality game is illegal, addictive and deadlyVR?Everyday peopleAvalon follows the contestants of a virtual-reality war game played for money and points. The game, however, is illegal, and players quickly become addicted -- but one can only leave the game by winning. The primary action of this technology-saturated sci-fi thriller focuses on the elimination of a player whose soul has become trapped in the game. Mamoru Oshii directs this Japanese-Polish film.In the game world, people 'die' many times. In the real world, some addicts end up in permanent coma. The movie is misleading about which reality the protagonist is in; she may be trapped forever, brain dead, or reasonably ok. The ending of Inception is similar, they both tease the viewer and leave the unresolved question: which world are they in now?
Battle RoyaleFilmTakeshi KitanoGrown-upsThere are some fatalities, yes.EscapeThe Government?One very lucky school classA class of children are dumped on an island, each with a weapon of wildly varying effectiveness (from machine-gun to spoon), and encouraged to off each other. Explosive collars and hourly "death zones" provide negative feedback against campersTwo of the kids turn out to be badasses
Bill and Ted's Bogus JourneyFilmKind of the opposite. Kind of.BoardBill S. Preston, Esquire; Ted Theodore Logan, DeathBill and Ted are killed by robot impersonators of themselves, and eventually find themselves playing Death at various games to win their lives back.Death gets melvined, plays Battleships, Twister.
Bishop of Battle ('Nightmares', 1983)MovieJoseph SargentHorror fansYesArcadeYoung Emilio EstevezThe Bishop of Battle is a thirteen-level arcade game; even the best players die on the twelfth. The arcade game is apparently highly advanced, with vector graphics and digitized voice. One night Emilio Estevez sneaks into the mall arcade, where he will attempt to beat the game.Upon beginning the thirteenth level, starships fly out of the machine's screen, followed by the Bishop of Battle himself! The Bishop of Battle chases Emilio Estevez through a parking garage. Emilio Estevez is never seen again (because he is trapped in the video game).
Black Mirror - 15 Million MeritsTVCharlie Brooker / Kanak HuqAdultNoGamified lifeThe media - with society's bovine compliance I'm still right aren't IMain theme is gamification of society; more directly, an FPS with 1990s graphics is shown being played played across all the walls of a bedroom at one pointI think you could probably say that everything's gone wrong before the narrative starts.
Blown AwayBookPatrick CaveSF readers?Basically deadly to start withEscapeTV execsAn underclass and a renegade cloneDeadly Crystal Maze-style antics at the behest of a cruel aristocracy to amuse the underclass and try to win their freedom Cruel overclassAlways meant to be really dangerous
Bottom - S02E02 'Culture'TVAde Edmondson & Rik MayallLovers of violent slapstickNo (don't try this at home, though; these guys are professionals)ChessTrad.Richard Richard and Edward HitlerRichie secretly hides the TV set (claiming it has been repossessed) because he wants to engage in some more highbrow pursuits instead, including a game of chess with housemate Eddie.The players themselvesRichie is too stupid to understand the rules of chess and his first move is a vivid military assault acted out in realtime with all of his pieces in the manner of a small child; Eddie mockingly responds by taking his queen on a round-trip of the board and calls checkmate; table flip and massive fight ensues.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - S06E05 Life SerialTvJoss WhedonTeen/AdultIt was supposed to, but mostly it just gets quite annoying.ContestThe TrioThe Trio, BuffyThe trio, a group of geeks with a few magical/deamony/technological skills decide to take on Buffy to test her abilities. They each take a turn at doing something to test her and score each other on how well they do.The TrioBuffy has a pretty sucky day, she misses her first day back at university because of Warren's strange time speedy thingy, She gets fired from her new construction job because she breaks everything fighting Andrew's Demons and she really really doesn't like getting stuck in Jonathan's time loop with a cranky mummy hand and a disgruntled customer. Also the trio don't really have a consistent scoring system and so at the end they still don't really know who won. Because even simple measures like whos puzzle took longest to solve get confusing when you start messing with time loops.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 7, episode ChosenTV showNoTabletop RPGGary GygaxGiles, Andrew, Xander and I think one of the potential slayersThey play a game of Dungeons and Dragons just before the big climactic battle, as a way to take their mind off thingsNothing, really
CalvinballComic bookBill WattersonAll right thinking peopleNoNew sportCalvinCalvin, HobbesCalvin makes the rules up as he goes along. Possibly Hobbes also makes up some rules, I can't rememberCalvin
Captain N: The Game MasterTVKidsNoLiveA teenager gets sucked into a vortex to fulfil an ancient prophecy
Cards on the TableBook Agatha Christie1950s murder mystery fansYupCardWhoever designed bridge?"Dr. Roberts, a hearty, florid man; Mrs. Lorrimer, a perfectly poised gentlewoman of late middle age; Major John Despard, a dashing Army man and world traveller, recently returned from Africa; and Anne Meredith, a shy, quiet, very pretty young woman."Hercule Poirot somehow works out from different people's bridge strategies which one of them would have had the daring to commit a spur-of-the-moment murder. I couldn't really work out how, since I don't understand bridge...hmm, commissioned? hosted by Mr Shaitana, definitely not a xenophobic stereotypeSomeone gets murdered during the game! Gasp!
Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryBook (also film)Roald DahlKids, ostensiblyNot as such, but you have to believe someone could be broken into a million tiny pieces and put back together again without being killed. Hey, that's Dahl for you.Roald DahlChocolate eaters the world overFirst you had to win a golden ticket; then you had to get through the factory tour without ending up a) in a chocolate lake, b) in a rubbish chute, c) a lot shorter or d) spherical and purple. Prize is to inherit a chocolate factory from a control freak.
ChessMusical/BookRichard NelsonConfused theatregoersNoChessTraditionIt's a cold war commentary. The game is just backdrop.
ClueFilm (based on board game)Several Times!
CodexBookLev GrossmanAdultsYes?ComputerA mad guy called The ArtisteA transparent standin for GrossmanIt's a "mysterious addictive computer game" called MOMUS. It links in some way to things that are happening IN REAL LIFE. I think there are murders related to it, it's a thriller after all.
Columbo: The Most Dangerous MatchTVPeople who like excellent mysteriesYesChessTraditionNormal people, and demented grandmastersThere's a very important game of chess that someone is sad to lose. Murder ensues.Excessive competitiveness
Community - Advanced Dungeons and DrgaonsTVDan Harmon (creator), Andrew GuestPeople who play D&D?No, althought they were only playing it because they thought someone was suicidal.Tabletop RPG Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, I guess. Wasn't explicit what edition they were playingThe study groupJeff thinks Fat Neil is going to kill himself, so he arranges for the group to play D&D to cheer him up. This backfires when Pierce diegetically steals Fat Neil's sword (due to his own fears of being ostracized by the group). Pierce ends up splitting off from the group, and becomes an evil wizard in his own lair (with a throne made of boxes of paper). Eventually they all band together and beat him - and then Fat Neil gives Pierce validation, saying he was an excellent roleplayer. The whole episode is notable for merely being shots of them sitting at the table, and still being epic.Everything goes pretty well, in the end. Fat Neil is devastated by a diegetic loss, but that's resolved by the end.
Community: Remedial Chaos TheoryTVAwesome peopleIn one timeline, yes.BoardWinger.The Study GroupA game of Yahtzee turns into a forked set of parallel universes when Jeff chooses to randomly determine who gets the doorbell with a dieWingerDepends on which timeline is canon; the seventh game logically is, but in the "1" timeline, Pierce is shot to death, Jeff loses in arm in a fire, Troy loses his voicebox, Shirley develops a drinking problem, and Abed turns evil.
Consider Phlebas (the game is 'Damage')BookIain M BanksGeeksYesCardRich bored Culture peopleRich bored Culture peoplePlaying pieces are humans who are killed when the point they represent is lost (they're drugged/paid/etc into participating). Players have some kind of emotional broadcast thing going on so they can read each others' emotionsRich bored Culture people
Constellation GamesBookLeonard RichardsonSF readersNoVideo gameAliensAriel Blum, a curious humanAliens contact earth. Our hero tries to learn about them by playing and reviewing their video games. Eventually he tries to remake one of them in human-suitable form.I think it all works out okay in the end
CrankMovieThe deathless geniuses of Neveldine and TaylorManchildrenVeryUnclearCHEV CHELIOSCHEV CHELIOS gets poisoned, has to keep his adrenaline up or he'll die, and goes on various murder/sex/drugs rampages to get the people who did him in. At the very end, he falls nominally to his death - and we see a high score INDICATING THAT MAYBE HE WAS IN A VIDEOGAMEGangstersCHEV CHELIOS kills a lot of people, may have died himself, may actually be INSIDE A VIDEOGAME.
CroupierFilmClive Owen fans, adultsNoCardTraditionThe son of a gambler works as a croupier at a casino. He falls in love with a regular. After she begs and pleads and shows signs of physical abuse, he colludes to rip of the casino.The whole thing is a setup. His father arranged for the regular to seduce him and for someone else to rob the casino while his son spends the entire film thinking he's a loser. Perceptions shift. A twist!
CSI: Miami: Urban HellraisersTVAdultsYesVideo game, live actionGames company of some descriptionImpressionable young American university students"Eric is in a bank during robbery after the ATM took his bank card. The team soon learns that the bank robbery is part of video game called Urban Hellraisers that is being played out in real life. To stop them the team must figure out the next level of the game before another crime happens." Full summary: bank teller is shot dead, a player dies of a heart attack after drinking energy drinks and playing non-stop for seventy hours, a games company distributes firearms.
CubeFilmVincenzo NataliAdultsIt is always unambiguously deadlyEscapeNever revealed, although one of the interees claims to have been one of the architectsAn apparently random groupThe characters wake up in a very deadly series of interlocking cubes, which they must escapeUnknownBasically everyone dies, except the autistic guy because that's poigniant (and they turn out to not be quite such a random group)
Dead SetTVCharlie BrookerYesTVTV executivesMembers of the publicEssentially the Big Brother formatZombies attack
Deadwood (first few episodes)TVPeople who like cussin'Of courseCardIt's poker. Five-card... straight, maybe?Wild Bill Hickok, Jack McCall, and several other ne'er-do-wellsJack McCall wants to take down the legendary Wild Bill, but Bill just wants to keep his head down and play poker.Jack shoots Wild Bill in the back.
Death RaceMovie(The remake)People who like things explodingYesNew sport, TVDeath row inmatesIt's a hugely-grossing televised sport!Probably a governmentWorks exactly as intended until Jason Statham beats the game and breaks out with the help of Lovejoy
Death Race 2000FilmadultsStarts out that way too ;)RaceA number of odd stereotypes and spectacular outfit-mannekins.Drivers race across the USA, scoring points for everyone they knock down along the way.David Carradine runs over the President and takes over the nation, I think. It could be a satire. I'm not sure, it was kind of subtle.
Deep Space 9: Move Along HomeTV episodeSomeone rubbishYes, although at the end it turns out it wasn't really and the dead one comes back to life.Board gameAliens from space.Aliens from space.Aliens play a board game but THE PIECES ARE OUR HEROES!!! They play alien hopscotch.
Deep StateBook Walter Jon Williams sf/thriller readersYesARGDagmar Shaw ARG players, citizens of a repressed countryDagmar is commissioned to make a game to overthrow a government, decides this is a good ideaThis is clearly a bad idea. HINT TO GAME DESIGNERS: don't do this.
Diamond DogsBookAlastair ReynoldsBrainy Science Fiction FansYes. Escape (they're not actually trying to escape, but it's that sort of mass-of-challenges-in-a-building thing)Unknown alien civilisation.Treasure hunting explorers.People go into massive tower, with increasingly difficult multiple choice maths challenges. and physical constraints. Modifying the brain and body is necessary to progress.People modify their body so much that they start to lose their humanity, becoming these narrow, mechanical, dog like creatures. Eventually most of them give up, before the cost of proceeding becomes too great.
Die Hard With A VengeanceFilmJohn McTiernanJeremy Irons fansYes. Also a helicopter explodes.PlaygroundSimon GruberJohn McClaneWhole film largely structured around particularly deadly game of Simon Says, invented by Jeremy Irons Playing Alan Rickman's Brother. EuroterroristsJeremy Irons loses
Doctor Who: The Celestial ToymakerTVBrian Hayles/Donald Tosh60s psychedelic childrenYes.EscapeA bored 'celestial being' who will eventually become Alfred the Butler in the Batman films.The Doctor & companions (Steven & Dodo), along with NPCs (one of which is played by Edith from 'Allo 'AlloWilliam Hartnell needed a holiday so he's not in it that much, apart from his hands playing a 'trilogic' game which has something to do with pyramids. His companions have to play a series of games (deadly, of course) based on hopscotch etc.The Doctor breaks his tooth on a boiled sweet and takes a trip to the Wild West to visit a dentist, thereby getting caught up in the gunfight at the OK Corrall. Seriously.
Dream ParkBook seriesNivenSF fans from the 80sYesLARPA proper game designerFee-paying subscribersBig LARPy game, in one case with an island specifically built for playing onA ruthless gang invades the game
Ender's GameBook/FilmOrson Scott Cardteen/adultYes.Video gameThe militaryCadetsEnder is being trained to be the future leader of the Military - Earth is at war with the Buggers. The military use a simulator that generates scenes taken from the players dreams and subconcious so they can accurately measure stress etc[The sim is being manipulated by the buggers, although it doesnt go wrong for our hero it goes wrong for the buggers who know this so manipulate ender to a visit a certain planet to allow him to find an eggsack.]
EndgamefilmyawpTV, fight to the deathGovernment?Trained gladiatorsIt's another fight-to-the-death TV game to keep the hordes pacified
Evilution ('How to Make a Monster', 2001)TV movieGeorge HuangYoung adultYesVideo gameClayton SoftwareA small team of young game developers who are in the thick of crunch-timeA new team of game developers have been brought on to complete Clayton Software's 'Evilution', which playtesters have complained is too boring. A one-million-dollar bonus goes to the single game dev who can make the game "the scariest." Okey-dokey.Peter DrummondThe game studio is struck by lightning, and the consciousness of Evilution's final boss somehow takes over a mo-cap suit and systematically kills our cast of characters one by one. Clea DuVall enters the game using a VR headset and slays the beast, automatically becoming the winner of a one-million dollar bonus and, somewhat inexplicably, a hardened sociopathic CEO.
Execution Plan
ExistenzFilmDavid Cronenberg1990sYes.VRCelebrity game designer Allegra GellerThe general public, except violent anti-game terroristsCelebrity game designer is revealing her latest game when terrorists attack. She goes on the run with a security guard, they play the game through some horrible biotech console. The game is seriously weird and pointless, but does include an interesting depiction of how NPCs would work.[Spoilers] Everyone in the film is playing a game depicting the events of the film. There are possibly even more layers to this.
Farscape: John QuixoteTVBen BrowderNearlyVRCrichton's own memoriesEveryone in the Uncharted Territories who wants to be John Crichton, in this particular episode Crichton and Chiana.Crichton is forced against his will into playing a VR game based on him by Chiana, hilarity ensues.Game creator has a grudge against John and tries to keep him there forever in yet another attempt by the universe to mindf**k him.
For The WinBookCory DoctorowteensMMORPGCorporationsgold farmers
FriendsTVSome insipid hack who should know betterLovers of banal comedyNo, although Rachel does get pretty steamedTVIn 4.12, Ross and Chandler vs Rachel and Monica, with Ross as the judge. In 6.06, Joey plays Chandler and then Chandler plays Ross. In 8.20, Joe is the host while Ross and Chandler are contestants.In 4.12, the friends play a quiz about each others' lives, in which Monica bets the apartment. In 6.06, Chandler invents "Cups", a fake game he uses to give Joey money without making Joey feel guilty for the loan. In 8.20, Joey becomes the host of a new, poorly defined game show.In 6.06, Joey plays a game of Cups against Ross after "learning" it from Chandler, and loses all of Chandler's money to Ross.
FuturesportFilmNot sureNew sportGovernmentGangs of youthsFUTURESPORT. There are electrified basketballs, it is played on skateboards. It is called FUTURESPORT.GovernmentA new coach comes into the game and is willing to play by "street rules"
Gamebox 1.0FilmDavid and Scott HillenbrandThe low-cost DVD rental marketRapidlyVRA mysterious agency sending out prototype VR consolesVideo game designersThe games played by the hero draw characters from events in his life, bringing in his dead ex-girlfriend and the corrupt cop who killed her.The gamebox kills people who die while playing it - inevitably - but it's hard to work out whether that is supposed to be a bug or a feature. Through his experiences, the protagonist avenges and achieves closure regarding his girlfriend's death, which probably counts as a bonus. Of course, on a more meta level "what goes wrong" is that the film is terrible
GamerFilmMark Neveldine, Brian TaylorAdultsYesFight to the death, escapeMichael C HallTeensIn a future mind-controlling game, death row convicts are forced to battle in a 'doom'-type environment. Convict Kable, controlled by Simon, a skilled teenage gamer, must survive 30 sessions in order to be set free. Or won't he?The US Government
Halting StateBook Charles StrossYesMMORPGA games company; programmer Jack Reed appearsNormal computer game playersIt's a MMORPG. There's also a pervasive game called Spooks about pretending to be a spy, which doesn't turn deadl I don't thinkCriminals do crime inside the game which spills out into real world
Hard TargetFilmJohn Woo90s Action Movie FansDuhHuntLance HenriksenJean-Claude Van DammeAdapted from The Most Dangerous Game, Lance Henriksen hunts the homeless for sport.Lance HenriksenLance Henriksen crosses Van Damme. ERROR.
Harry Potter ad infinitumBook / MovieJK RowlingChildrenNoNew sportJK RowlingWizardsQuidditch is football for wizards, except it's basically incoherent and makes practically no sense to do anything other than go for the snitch, and clearly was designed by someone who doesn't like sport ADDENDUM: Don't they also play giant chess at some point?UnclearLots of people get injured but being wizards, grow bones etc back quite fast. Nobody dies playing quidditch, iirc. Audience groan at inevitably Quidditch Scene in every book
Harry Potter one of the early onesBookJK RowlingChildrenNot quiteChessIt's just chessWizardsIt's giant chess where people are pieces sometimes and get hit over the head etcSomeone gets hit on the head
Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireBookJK RowlingChildrenyesWizardsWizardsTriwizard tournament - DANGEROUS WIZARD olympics - fight a dragon, swim underwater for ages, get to the middle of a DANGEROUS maze. Revived after several deaths with safeguards in place which clearly aren't going to work.Voldemort kidnaps and kills one of them
Harsh RealmTVChris CarterPeople who liked the X FilesI think soVRThe US MilitaryTom Hobbes and a bunch of other peopleSoldier goes into long-running VR sim to "kill" general. Serial TV happens.US Military"From his new companions, Tom Hobbes learns that General Santiago has in fact hijacked Harsh Realm. Hobbes is merely the latest soldier in a long line of soldiers sent to kill General Santiago. Hobbes also learns from a mysterious "ally", Inga Fossa, that General Santiago is planning the ultimate act of terrorism in the real world so that Harsh Realm is all that remains."
Hikaru No Go (Go)TV / MangaYumi HottaJapanese children that are playing videogames and watching anime when they should be playing GoYes, in the backstoryBoardWikipedia says Go was designed by Emperor Yao's counsellor, Shun, for his unruly sonSpirits of departed Go masters, children, non-departed Go mastersDeparted spirit of Go master Sai plays the 'phone a friend' role for Hikaru, who over the course of the series gradually learns to actually play Go implausibly well.
Homestuck -- game title: SburbWebcomic/animationsAndrew HussieInternet peopleVery; but death is often non-permanent due to a system of weird physics and unstable time loopsBuilding, fighting, and universe-creation; it is strongly implied that all characters live in universes that have been created by Sburb, even though they are playing Sburb themselvesUnknown, though there is speculation, and it will probably be revealed before the comic endsTwo groups of human children, who are all relatives or recombinations of one another due to weird paradoxes caused by Sburb; and two groups of alien children, who are similarly related.Sburb is playable by a chain of players of arbitrary size. One player acts as a host, and another acts as a client; a host can also be a client simultaneously to someone else. The host can click on items in the client's house to move them around, sometimes with startling force. The host must deploy arcane machinery in the client's house, and the client must combine various items before their house is destroyed by a meteor. If successful, the client and their house are transported to Skaia, a land where the host player must build the house up to gates high in the sky, and the client player must destroy imps and negotiate with a denizen on the planet below. By this point, many players have utterly failed, or are actively trying to break the game; however, Sburb makes use of counter-intuitive and paradoxical game mechanics to ensure that those were the exact things the players really should have done in the first place. The endgame of Sburb involves getting killed on a quest-bed and coming back with god-tier powers, defeating unimaginably resilient enemies, and creating new universes from carefully reassembled genetic/game code.Unknown, currently, though this may be resolved by the end of the story.Due to the prototyping of a godlike being into one of the kids' kernelsprites, a villainous character whose abilities reflect such prototypings becomes massively overpowered, and goes on a ruthless killing spree. Many other things go wrong incidentally or as a further result of this, but listing all of them would take up too much space.
Homeward BoundersBookDiana Wynne JonesChildren Lots of minor characters dieBoard game but THE BOARD IS THE WORLDA race of demonsThe demonsWe discover that the world is so confusing because it's a game board, one of a seemingly infinite number of game boards that are parralell universes.
How I Met Your MotherTVModerately bored people?NoBoardgameA game designerThere is a recurring minor character who keeps inventing board games, and trying to sell them commercially, but they fail. Also a main character makes up a game a couple of times and makes people play it with him None of the games are any good
Hunger GamesNovel / FilmSuzanne CollinsTeenagersIt starts out deadlyTV, escapeGovernmentChildrenTwo children from each region of dystopic future US fight to the death in a battle royale inside a booby-trapped game zone while everyone watches on telly. Surviving child wins food and treats for his/her region for the next year. GovernmentActually, it turns un-deadly, in that [spoiler], the two surviving children refuse to fight to the death, threatening a suicide pact instead, and the state relents (ratings!) and lets them both live.
Infinite JestTomeDavid Foster WallacePeople who like unnecessary big wordsElsewhere, but not in EschatonNew sport, board gameEschaton is designed by old, old college studentsDedicated geeky juniorsTennis academy students play an elaborate Cold War- type scenario where topspin lobs represent nuclear strikes.An ingenious player nails a peace conference with a direct forehand; rules lawyering leads to farce
IntactoFilmJuan Carlos FresnadilloAdultsYesContestReclusive wise man with strange powersAbsurdly lucky people who steal the luck of others by touchParticularly good running-through-a-forest-blindfold and five-bullet russian roulette scenesIIRC: everyone gets a bit competitive, things go wrong, Max von Sydow has a dark secret
Interstellar PigNovelWilliam SleatorYoung AdultNot reallyBoard and cards(See "What goes wrong/Spoilers to the right)Vacationers at a seaside townThe game is played by selecting a card that determines what alien race you are. The players then race against the clock attempting to find and keep the pig. When the clock runs out whoever has the pig wins and the losers home planets are destroyed.
Uncertain, but speculation in spoilerBarney arrives at the seaside vacation town and is introduced to the game by the neighbors. But strangely the neighbors always pick the same race in every game. Clues lead to Barney first discovering that the game is cover for a real game of Interstellar Pig, in which he becomes the player for the human race; and also leads him to the location of the piggy. The pig claims to have created the game and also claims that it isn't intentionally destroying worlds. But Barney realizes the piggy may also have created the original story about the game leaving uncertain whether it is safer to possess or not possess the piggy.
Invitation to the GameNovelMonica HughesTeenagersYesVRGovernmentWell-meaning government gets people to play THE GAME, which is a VR exploration of a planetGovernment[SPOILERS] It is secretly preparation for really making them go and live on another planet.
JumanjiFilmChildrenNot quiteBoardFoolish childrenThe game makes things manifest in the real world / sucks people into it. Also it's just a dicerolling thing, so it's not a very good gameToo luck-based
Land Of The Giants: Deadly PawnTVIt starts pretty deadly tbhBoardChessGiantsTiny humans are strapped to chess pieces, which go into a furnace when captured. Strongly mitigates popularity of sacrifice optionsGiantsTiny people deliberately get captured and make elaborate escape through the furnace thing
Live!FilmBill GuttentagPretty much no-one? Yeah no-one really saw this film.Hell yeahParlour game? Maybe?Russians?A selection of reality TV archetypesEva Mendes is a ruthless TV exec who figures Russian roulette would make amazing TV. She's right! Everyone watches some dude blow his brains out. Very sad.Um, TV peopleSomeone shoots Eva Mendes! :(
Logan's RunFilmSci-fi fans in the 70syesfloaty exploding roulettewhoever it was that created their societyEveryone over the age of 30Every person over the age of 30 has to enter The Carousel, a kind of lottery where the entrants float higher and higher to ceiling until they explode. Survivors supposedly ascend to a higher level or something, however nobody ever survives.whoever it was that created their societyNothing goes wrong with the game, the plot is about people who turn fugitive in order to avoid playing it.
LOTS of Saki short storiesshort storyH H MunroPeople who like snarky-awesome Edwardian literatureUsually notTraditionalWhoever invented bridge... and horseracing... and billiards.. and lots of other games that can be played for cash stakesClovis, Bertie and many moreThere's one where a gambling addict bets the family cook, another where a bad billiards player has to set the house on fire, there are many, many of these. They're all on project Gutenberg and are ace, although you have to kind of grit your teeth through some of the occasional misogynistic/anti-semitic throwaway lines. Author was a product of his time. :(
Lucky Wander BoyBookD.B. WeissAdultNoArcadeAraki Itachi, a game designer who has vanished into obscuritySeemingly only our protagonist, Adam Pennyman, who remembers the game from his youth and becomes increasingly obsessed with locating the game's creatorThe game 'Lucky Wander Boy' is the elusive focus of the book 'Lucky Wander Boy'. At its earliest stages, we are told, it is a sidescrolling platformer, but it deepens in theme and intricacy. It isn't very well remembered, and no one knows how to beat it.Existential angst (not a lot happens in this book).
mad max beyond thunderdomefilmYesFight to the death It's got tina turner in it. (Can't we just get beyond thunderdome?!)
Mahabharataepiccauses catastrophic wardiceShakuni of the Kaurava family and Yudishtira of the rival PandavasYudishtira loses everything - wealth, clothes, brothers and finally his wife. The Pandavas are forced into a long exile which is followed by a monumental and destructive war. e. Yudishtira loses everything - wealth, clothes, brothers and finally his wife. The Pandavas are forced into a long exile which is followed by a monumentally destructive war. Shakuni plays with loaded dice and triumphs completely. It's all downhill from there.
Maid Marian & Her Merry Men - Tunnel VisionTV showTony RobinsonChildrenNot reallyEscapeMarian & the Merry MenThe Sherrif of Nottingham & his guards, Gary & GrahamFor some reason I can't remember, the merry men transform their hideout into a pastiche of the Crystal Maze with hilarious consequences.
Mazes & MonstersTV movieSomewhatTabletop RPGFictional equivalent of TSR, presumablyTeensTom Hanks takes roleplaying too seriously."During the actual spelunking, Robbie experiences a psychotic episode."
Midnight MadnessMovieDisneyFamilyNoPuzzle huntAn odd studentStudentsThere's a great big game along the lines of the MIT mystery hunt, run by an odd student and his two female sidekicks, who wear rollerskates and "game control" t-shirts. It gets pretty vehement but nobody eg diesHe just decided to make it on a whimNeighbours try to shut it down; players take it too seriously
Million Dollar Mysteryfilm
MogworldNovelBen CroshawNoMMO
MS Paint AdventuresSeries of webcomicsAndrew HussieThe InternetStarts deadly. Death is generally non-permanent.Andrew Hussie/The InternetThe InternetHussie begins telling a story framed as an adventure game. He prompts the internet for feedback/commands, then draws the next scene. There is emergent gameplay but there's also big chunks of premade fiction.
My Lady Love, My DoveShort StoryRoald DahlPeople who understand Roald Dahls short stories for adults rock the fricking hizzay, yoNo, a bit nasty thoughCardWhoever invented bridgeTwo couples, each of which is behaving unethically in different ways Snapes are cheating, but the hosts have bugged their bedroom.
Never Say Never Again, game title: DOMINATIONFilmIan Fleming (sort of) General cinemagoers, but in the scene, a huge mass of incredibly rich and glamourous peopleyes, allegedly1-on-1 strategy/arcadeMAX LARGO, Insane billionaire with plans to do stuff with captured nuclear weapons.James Bond, Max LargoIn a psuedo-classical table/mirror setup, players contest a global nuclear war in vector graphics by attacking or defending countries of the world, arranged by region. The game is played in an arcade style, with twin joysticks to move a cursor around to presumably attack or defend territories. The joysticks are electrified to induce pain in the players relative to their status during the game in play. Max Largo, to beat everyone.James Bond slowly masters the game over several matches using his spy skills and reflexes, relying on his endurance of pain to drive home a spectacular victory.
New Doctor Who: Bad WolfTVProbably Russell T. DaviesThe inhabitants of the radioactive crater where once there used to be a flourishing civilization of high culture and erudition.Yes.TVThe Daleks (what?)The same sort of person who would play the Weakest Link today, except in THE FUTURE.The Doctor and his companions randomly wake up one day having been imprisoned inside futuristic versions of the reality/gameshows of 2005-era British television. Except because it's THE FUTURE, the games are DEADLY.It doesn't so much "go wrong" as it starts awful and gets worse from there. The Doctor and his companions eventually escape from the games, only to find it's all a plot by the Daleks (what).
New LandsMusic videoJustice (written and directed by Canada)YesSpectator sportA crazy personFootball player-lookin' dudesSome sort of hellish futuristic crossover of baseball, football, lacrosse, roller derby, Tecmo Bowl, and an FPS turret sequence.Wealthy businessmen standing around a giant cocktail cabinet.A player on the scrappy red-white-and-blue team gets spiked to death in the... end zone? by a member of the evil cyborg establishment team, but through sportsmanship and believing in themselves, the team may or may not win.  [TO BE CONTINUED]
New WorldBookGillian CrossYoung teenNoVRSome game devs incl a guy named HeskethSome 14 year old kids beta test itVirtual reality game is about to come to market. The developers are desperate to show the technology is thoroughly safe and ready for the mass market. The kid's cheat one of the failsafes and one of them has a panic attack. This is apparently grounds for pulling the entire project.They put something over a pulse monitor to stop the game from cutting off when the experience got too intense. Also they collude with the game's GM who turns out to be another kid.
NymphomationBookJeff NoonSci-fi fans / stonersYesLotteryNumber Gumbo, sort of, but also the AnnoDomino corporationMost of ManchesterSeriously, this is more mental than I remember: AnnoDomino corporationLucky people get murdered, there's a bunch of sex and drugs, lots of smart ads, a whole lot of organic fluids, and the lottery eventually comes to a shuddering halt once all the flaws in the whole "living dominos made of goop" and "building a lottery on a culture of sex and murder" are revealed.
Oceans 13FilmPeople that had seen and liked the previous two films presumablyNoCardTraditionThe main plot revolves around cheating every single game on a casino floor in order cause the owner to lose posession of the establishment. It's a convoluted revenge story.
Only You Can Save MankindBookTerry PratchettTeenagersNo? Yes? Only in the dream/game worldVideo gameRegular game designersKidsJohnny plays a starfighter game so obsessively he starts to see it in his sleep. But in his dreams the aliens plead him to stop. He discovers another obsessive gamer (Kirsty) and realize that their dreams are real enough for them to communicate, even though they've never met. They decide to protect the innocent aliens from destruction by all the other players.The aliens inside the game are real, by playing and dreaming, the kid tries help them get home, where players won't keep killing them
OtherlandBookTad WilliamsPeople who finished Reamde and thought, "Yup. Still too much time."Events inside the game cause deaths in the 'real' world. But which one is more real? WHICH?VR MMORPGThe Grail BrotherhoodEveryone, but there were 12 protagonistsA VR MMORPG with offline death and all that stuff.The plucky protagonists figure it all out. Except the ones that die.
Pawn in FrankincenseNovelDorothy DunnettSuleiman the Magnificent's favourite wife, and a few select courtiers, eunuchs and slavesLive chess game in the Topkapi Palace. Taken 'pieces' are strangled with a bowstring by mute servants. Anyone on the losing side will die. Survivors on the winning side are promised life and freedom.ChessThe aforementioned favourite wife, who has an interest in absolutely nobody surviving the game. Even if they win. a variety of characters who've played important roles in the book and the reader would really hate to lose almost any of them. the denouement of long-standing rivalry between two men, one Bad one Good, who play the Kings. The penultimate move requires Good king (a kind of emo anti-hero) to sacrifice a pawn - he has a choice of two, and both are children. (oh, and this book is no. four of a six-part series in which all the titles are to do with chess, and the chessboard is 16th century Europe / N.Africa)The pawn is sacrificed, so it all goes wrong for Bad King, who didn't see that one coming, despite being mighty clever. And it all goes wronger for Good King who ends up even madder in his brilliant head than he was to start with. They don't do angst like this any more.
Persona (specifically, games 1 and 2, and also the anime series -trinity soul-)video games, mostlyShin Megami Tensei studiopepole who like teenagers becoming realized human beingsYes, ocasionallymysterious cosmic entitesteenagers, over at least three storylinesTeenagers play the game to "discover their persona" which can actually lead to them gaining powers! Or, alternately, unhappy endings. Game is very rooted in what I want to say is Jungian ideals.phenonimal cosmic powersLoss of soul, etc.Later entries in the Persona series seem to abandon the Persona game in favor of OH LOOK, LIFE THREATENING MOMENT. OR ID THREATENING! SO MUCH MORE EFFICIENT!