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Gamescape: Overworld by Emma Trevayne

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The planet is dying. Centuries of abuse have damaged the earth beyond repair, and now all the authorities can do is polish the surface, make the landscape look pretty to hide the disease within. Two prominent yet mysterious businessmen couldn’t fix it, either, but they did something even better. Together, they invented Chimera, the most complex and immersive virtual reality video game the world has ever known. The Cubes in which Chimera is played quickly became a fixture of this landscape: part distraction, part hospital, and almost wholly responsible for holding up the failing world economy.

Miguel Anderson is also dying. He isn’t the only one who plays the game–everybody does–but Miguel has more reason than most: When players leave their Cubes for the day, the upgrades and enhancements they’ve earned for their virtual characters leave with them. New lungs to breathe poisoned air, skin that won’t burn under the sun are great and everything… but Miguel, born as broken as the earth, needs a new heart–and soon–if he wants any hope of surviving just a little longer.

Then the two Gamerunners announce a competition, with greater rewards and faster progression than ever before, and Miguel thinks his prayers have been answered. All he needs to do is get picked to lead a team, play the game he’s spent years getting good at, and ask for his prize when he wins. Simple, really.

At first, things seem to go according to plan. Mostly, anyway. Inside his Cube, with his new team–including his best friend–at his back, Miguel begins his quest. He plays recklessly, even dangerously, for someone whose most vital organ could give up at any moment, but his desperation makes him play better than ever. The eyes of the world are on him, watching through status updates and live feeds, betting on his chances. With greater rewards, though, come greater risks, and the Gamerunners seem to delight at surprising the competitors at every turn. As he ventures deeper into a world that blends the virtual and the real to an unsettling degree, Miguel begins to wonder just why the game was invented at all, and whether its stakes could be even higher than life and death.
 

Goodreads Summary

If we could just play a game to win anything that we need, then the world would be a much simpler place, wouldn't it? Any ailment could be cured by simply playing a video game, winning, and then asking for whatever you need. In an age of video game obsession and people addicted to weekend long sessions of Halo, it would give the non-player a real motivation for playing and getting great at the game. Chimera is a virtual reality world where all of this and more is possible. People enter to escape the falling apart earth or a few hours, all while attempting to earn a new set of fingers if theirs have become mangled, or a new liver if they have destroyed their current one.

I love that Miguel has a legitimate reason to play the game. In fact he is in essence, playing to regain his life and extend his years of living. A need for a heart transplant is a serious matter, and he is playing to save his own life. The author does a great job at developing Miguel as a character. He is a passionate person, and he really wants to be here. He understands that he is a mere mortal with a very limited amount of time left unless he succeeds. The gaming world that is created by the author is awesome as well. I found it very interesting reading about the different character's motivations for winning the game and the seriousness of their individual desires. That on top of amazingly detailed descriptions of the worlds and scenes inside and outside of the game, makes for a fun and exciting story. Definitely worth diving into this game environment to see what it's all about.

4 Stars

Reviewed by Chris

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

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