imagesOff to Be The Wizard
by Scott Meyer
2013
Book one of Magic 2.0
Audio version was narrated by Luke Daniels.

What can I say about this book. I loved it so much, I’ve read it twice and listened to it on audio with my 12 year old son. On the surface it is a comedy about computer hackers that find a file that lets them change their real world parameters.  Do to poor choices, in its use the main character Martin flees to medieval times to be a wizard.  Hilarity ensues.

At its core the book is much deeper than a funny story. It is a commentary on theft of intellectual property, It also takes a look at digital characters and the moral ramifications of misusing them.

The later is something I have a hard time with while gaming. For me, I can’t just go off and kill whatever I want, I feel a need to stick to a moral guide to play the good guy or as close as I can get. The Fable games comes to mind. I played through all three games several times and never once could I bring myself to become evil. When I tried it was not a rewarding experience for me and I abandoned that play through.

If you enjoy playing the bad guy that’s fine by me, it just isn’t for me. I dont know if these Good/Evil choice games have a name so to coin a term, Faction Games. I feel that these kind of faction games are wonderful and the choice to be good, evil, and everything between makes for intriguing game play. There should be more games like this.  It is also why I dislike strict alignment games so much. You must be a good or bad guy you have to leave your personal morals at the door. I want the choice to be the hero, not forced to be the hero.  A game that forces me to be one or the other takes away the emersion.  GTA wouldn’t be much fun driving around in a car you legal bought, obeying all the traffic signals and rules, but that is how I would try to play it.

Off To Be The Wizard explores the moral consequences or the lack thereof when your whole world ends up being algorithms and code.  If you and your fellow man are nothing more than bytes in a computer program is it moral to kill knowing that you and your whole world is computer generated?

Reading the book was great, I love reading I recommend it to everyone, but the audio performance of Luke Daniels is probably one of the best I have even heard.  And it has time travel!

List of Faction Games that I have played:

Beyond Good and Evil
Mass Effect
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2
Bioshock 1 and 2 (maybe Bioshock Infinite)
Fable 1, 2, and 3
Skyrim
Fallout 3 and 4
Many more but I can’t think of them right now.

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