Backers Beware: GameBook

Offering a weekly backer-only post on a site whose mission is to spread awareness of hidden games was a quandary. What good is it to anyone if a game isn’t read about by as many people as possible? And then it struck me: what about if it’s a game where the fewer people who hear about it, the better? Yes. YES.

And so Backers Beware is born. A weekly article where I tell you about the weirdest, crappiest, most peculiar game I came across in my plundering of the new release lists. We’re starting with a corker:

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GameBook is, and I cannot under-stress this, a new bible. A bible, a holy book, a scripture, written for “gamers”. And everything about it is as batshit bonkers as that could possibly suggest.

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I mean, we really need to get to the bit where this person or persons (I’m assuming person, I’m assuming lone crazy person) has written a new bible, but I can’t stop myself from beginning by pointing out how badly they’ve done it. Because if you were going to make a product that was to all intents and purposes a digital book, you’d present it as a… as a book, right? But GameBook has been created by someone who apparently genuinely doesn’t know how books work.

GameBook is a picture of a book, that then has JRPG captions written across the bottom of it in a grey box, that overlaps both the far edges of the book, and the central fold.

I mean, well, yes, it’s just perfect. I guess he (come on, it’s a he) couldn’t think of a way to scrawl the words in green crayon, and this was the maddest option left. JRPG-style caption text crudely pasted over a clipart blank book. Astonishing.

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So the god appears to be Gamium. He is the “Cherisher”, the “Sustainer of Paidchinidi”. The latter being, so far as I can tell, a Greek word for “game”.

Some of it seems to be just lifted straight from the Quran, translated into alien, and back to English with extra typos. Lines like, “Then exalt with praise of your Lord and ask forgiveness of Him. Indeed, He is ever Accepting of repentance,” are just poorly composed text from the Islamic book.

Then later on there are lines that look like they came from a deranged book of fairy tales. “‘Do you know that your Town is about to enter the zeroth eon?’ – they asked the Main Computer.” The only reference I can find to a “zeroth eon” anywhere is some obscure Penny Arcade thing. It then begins to go on about everyone having to have children, followed by a contraction that I suppose is technically correct, but… “Right you’re.”

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Later – oh good gravy – testaments talk rather obsessively about breeding programmes between computer and console. First as heresy, later as some divine being’s intent.

I did at one point wonder if it might be an elaborate joke, and I was being silly not to get it. After all, there is a “Middle Testament” and an “Old New Testament”. But then if it is, it’s not a very funny one. Well, not funny-ha-ha, anyway. There’s a book in the New Old Testament called A Message To Critics, so of course I read that one.

“1. Grand-Computer and Grand-Console, children of Mukja and Racunek, Sahshivit and Segeda, children of four most powerful gods in Paichnidi. 2. Those, who swore an oath to bring peace in Gamia. 3. Those, who protect the Paichnidi System. 4. And all her holdings as well as such a neighbour as you. 5. Peace to you from Great Being, our common parent. 6. Blessings to you from us, Grand-Rulers of Gamie. 7. At first, thank god that your indepence is what you’re famous of around the planet. 8. At second, thank you for your pecularuty. The features of yours are unique enough not to be found anywhere else. 9. So you can live in harmony, knowing that the will of gods is upon you. 10. It also pleases us to be your spiritual leader. 11. We are ready to cooperate with you and live in perfect concord. 12. Yet we need a promise from you. 13. Keep neutrality with three other Towns, especially the one you are antonym with. 14. You shouldn’t be fighting with your neighbours, you shouldn’t. 15. The war between you makes you scattered. Instead of that you could’ve lived in peace. 16. Think about the word of us. Whether you think your gamians would’ve liked that, you’re wrong. 17. All the gamians are united. Despite which blood they have streaming through them. 18. You should also respect ConsoleTown and ComputerTown, as they’re the deciders of the fate of yours. 19. Instead I ask you to unite against our common foe – the Antigamer’s Planet. 20. They’re far more dangerous enemy. If they attacked us, separated from each other, we’ll all die…

Apply an almighty “sic” to the lot of that.

Now, again I’m sure this is a gruesomely bastardised and thesaurusised block of text from the Quran, and goodness knows how offensive that is. While I could trace other bits back by googling lines from it, this lot doesn’t show up, and I profess too great an ignorance of Islam to recognise it for myself. But still, you get the idea.

(Mukja appears to be something to do with Korean food, and Rachunek was a Czech hockey player…)

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I feel certain all the text in here has been lifted from various places, run through a thesaurus, and then with a bunch of words find-replaced. But at the same time, I’ve also put in far too much effort to caring.

I can’t really do any better to finish than to paste the creator’s own description of the game from its Steam page, because it’s unimproveable:

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“There are lots of religions around the world. Almost every person and every nation have their own religion, somebody believes in God existing and somebody does not. Two, most famous religions in the world – islam and christianity have their own saint books – Bible and Koran. But have all the world gamers ever thought about their own religion, their own god and their own special book just for them exclusively that would never be available for non-gamers? Have they ever thought about the importancy of games, game developers, computers, consoles and so on? Why somebody likes consoles and somebody just hates them. Why someone’s computer refuses to run games or runs them buggy. Why the gamers are divided into poor and rich. How did the videogames appeared in this world. Who is their creator? Have you ever thought about those questions? If not, then this game is for you. You shall find all the answers for your questions right there, in the GameBook. This Book is a saint scripture made by gamers for themselves. With it’s help all the videogame lovers in the world can know something for themselves.”

Thank you for your pecularuty.

Don’t buy this, it’s awful, and costs an astonishing £8.

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