Great Books to Read Once You've Played the Video Game

When it comes to recommending videogames that can promote further reading, I’ve opted for blockbuster titles. This is simply because most young people are familiar with the games and the storylines they contain. There are games that offer a far richer narrative experience, such as The Last of Us, Fable and Skyrim. If you’re working with young people who have played these titles, you’ll find each one provides a springboard into literature, folklore, myth and legend.


The latest title in a popular open-world franchise that mixes up history with adventure, stealth and cunning. Like so many popular contemporary games this is a sandbox title, which means the player can divert from the central narrative at any time and effectively create their own experience – in this case, by sailing the high seas of the late eighteenth century.

Vampirates by Justin Somper (Simon & Schuster)

Swashbuckling pirates from the dark side. Somper has created an engrossing series with direct appeal to fans of the current offering from the franchise

Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve (Hot Key Books)

Spies, subterfuge, twists, turns and teleportation - all strung together in an alternative history and epic storyline.

The Assassins Creed series by Oliver Bowden (Penguin)

Engrossing, well-written and fast-paced adaptations of the game – highly recommended.



Crime in the city and beyond; embracing everything you really shouldn’t and familiar to pretty much everyone under the 18 + rating. If you can see beyond the controversy, the storyline follows the lives of three different characters as they work together for better or worse in pursuit of the American Dream.

Turf by John Lucas (Corgi)

A hard-hitting and compelling story about gang life on the streets of Hackney.

The Outsiders by SE Hinton (Penguin Classic)

Old school gritty urban fiction at its best.

Masters of Doom by David Kushner (Piatkus)

A compelling account of the creation of the legendary shoot-em-up. Explores the fallout for the game and the industry in the wake of the Columbine massacre.



Another massive first person shoot ‘em-up franchise that charts a space war between mankind and a quasi-religious alien race. The game is very much about combat, but with enough sci-fi tropes thrown in to stimulate interest in books that pack a similar punch.

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (Gollancz SF Masterworks)

A soldier in an interstellar conflict travels between battles through wormholes in time.  An intense and richly-imaginative examination of the consequences of war – in the past, now or in the future.

The Elites by Natasha Ngan (Hot Key Books)

A deftly-handled dystopian tale about an isolated and exotic city in which the citizens are genetically tested at birth to discover if they possess the right stuff to become fighters, rulers and protectors.

Generation Kill by Evan Wright (Corgi)

A war reporter embedded with the US Marines explores life on the modern day frontline with wired young men trained to kill. 


Where are the links between Call of Duty and Homer's Odyssey? Find out in Matt's previous blog!

If you know any aspiring teen writers, tell them to watch Matt share his creative writing tips in this interview.

Matt Whyman

Matt is a best selling author and resident agony uncle for both Bliss Magazine and BBC Radio 1's The Surgery with Aled. Writing for both adults and young adults. His previous young adult books have been shortlisted for various awards and his newest book The Savages has received widespread praise - being described by The Guardian as 'a dark-hearted comedy of family life.'