Games in Books and Movies

shall we play a game?The fantastically entertaining Press Start to Play is the newest addition to thrilling stories constructed around complex games. Try one of the spotlighted titles below, and check out the lists for others that invite you to play along. Solve the riddles, beat your opponents, and save the world!

Games in Novels:

The Player of Games book coverThe Player of Games
by Iain M. Banks

In the human-machine symbiotic society called The Culture, there have been many great game players, but Gurgeh is a master of every board, computer, and strategy. He travels to the Empire of Azad to try its game, one so complex and like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor.

The Glass Bead Game book coverThe Glass Bead Game
by Herman Hesse

Since childhood, Joseph Knecht has been consumed with mastering the Glass Bead Game, which requires a synthesis of aesthetics and scientific arts, such as mathematics, music, logic, and philosophy, in order to become a Magister Ludi.

This is Not a Game book coverThis is Not a Game
by Walter Jon Williams

In a near-future world that is dominated by an alternate-reality game without boundaries, players find their real lives increasingly and violently overshadowed by the game and its escalating demands.

Ready, Player One, for more?  Click here for a list of books about all kinds of games.

Games in Movies:

The Running Man DVD coverThe Running Man

Based on the book by Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King), a wrongly convicted man must try to survive a public execution gauntlet staged as a game show.

Battle Royale DVD coverBattle Royale

In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary “Battle Royale” act.

The Game DVD coverThe Game

Wealthy San Francisco financier Nicholas Van Orton gets a strange birthday present from wayward brother Conrad: a live-action game that consumes his life.


Not ready to concede defeat?  Click here for more movies about games.