Several bestselling stories including Brian D. Anderson’s new release The Vale are GameLit as a whole, but may not necessarily be classified as LitRPG. Brian’s writing is so highly acclaimed, that prior to The Vale’s official release, audiobook giant Audible gave him a six figure offer for exclusive rights to the story. The concern of reader confusion between GameLit and LitRPG however is real. I quote Brian in a recent Facebook comment, “It’s funny. A ton of my ‘also boughts’ are LitRPG’s. I hope they don’t think The Vale is LitRPG or I’m in store for some pissed off reviews.”
So What is the Difference?
On September 4th 2017 a discussion was held among a handful of authors, namely R. M. Mulder, Zachariah Dracoulis, Dustin Tigner, and John Ward. A concern was addressed that there were a large number of stories that were receiving poor reviews strictly based upon an orthodox definition of what a select few people believed defines a story as LitRPG. The primary issue that was discussed on that monumental date was the fact that most of these poor reviews were unsolicited, and authors who were not among the LitRPG community were also getting caught in the fray. The simple fact was this: Many of these authors never intended to write LitRPG in the first place, so getting a poor review based strictly on the concept of “Not LitRPG” as the basis of the review was quite unfair. Thus, an agreement was reached that a new term was needed for stories that contained gaming elements, but did not conform to the strict standards that had been adopted for LitRPG. After several possible monikers were offered, one stood out among the others: GameLit.
Over the course of a month, many more authors were added to our organization group, including Brian D. Anderson, Anthea Sharp, Andrew Rowe, Kip Terrington, Ian Woodhead, Serena Fleming, James G Patton, Paul Campbell Jr, Jason J. Nugent, Matthew Sylvester, Ian Mitchell, and George Fisher of UltimateLitRPG.com to name a few. We discussed ideas and strategies on how to announce the new terminology. We also agreed that categorically, GameLit was a parent genre to LitRPG among several other newer subcategories such as LitFPS, LitAR, LitVR and many others. We agreed upon the following definition:
“A story with gaming elements essential to the plot. Often includes features of Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Science Fantasy. While all LitRPG books fit within GameLit, not all GameLit books fit within LitRPG. This is an open genre. There are no official groups, gatekeepers, or rule-makers.”
The Launch of GameLit
On September 30th 2017, we went public and announced the definition of GameLit on our group website which can be found at http://www.GameLit.org. Since that date, many events have occurred which has caused the term GameLit to become confused as a synonym to LitRPG. Among those events included the trademarking of the term LitRPG. To mitigate the risk of trademark infringement, many authors quickly adopted “RPG GameLit” as a replacement term.
The Future of GameLit
So now that you understand the history of GameLit’s establishment, let’s talk more about the future of this budding new genre. These stories contain gaming elements but are not necessarily restricted to being housed inside a game. For example, the story can be more about a gamer’s Real Life (RL) and the challenges he or she faces from day to day. Alternatively, the story can be based in a fantasy world where playing a virtual reality game is critical to survival. So go get your GameLit on!