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An original video game described in detail through a work of narrative fiction. Very prone to Defictionalization, even when not made into an official licensed game.

May be part of a Cyberspace environment.

If described in such detail (though games like Ultra Super Death Gore Fest Chainsawer 3000 tend not to be), they'll generally avert Pac-Man Fever.

See also Game Within a Game, Sudden Videogame Moment, Watching a Video Game.


Examples:

Anime and Manga


Film


Literature

  • After a harrowing run through an Indiana Jones-styled hallway loaded with traps and a massive fight at the end of it, the title characters of Billy and Howard go home and play a game based on what they just did.
  • Free Play in Ender's Game, which seems to be an adventure game set in some sort of Dream Land. That Cruelty Is the Only Option in a few of the game's trickier puzzles comes back to torment Ender.
  • The hero of the Iain Banks novel Complicity spends most of the book playing a world-builder game called Despot, which he describes as "byzantinely complicated, baroquely beautiful, spectacularly immoral and utterly, utterly addictive." Word of God says it was inspired by Civilization (which supposedly almost made him miss the book's deadline). He also mentions he used to play a sci-fi game named "Xerium".
  • Another Iain Banks novel, The Steep Approach to Garbadale, features a family-run games business whose fortune is built on a board game called Empire!.
  • Tad Williams' Otherland series features a ton of these - appropriately since it's set Twenty Minutes Into the Future and the key feature is a world wide virtual reality network. Particularly significant is the "Middle Kingdom", portrayed as the ultimate fantasy MMORPG, not to mention the game-within-a-game virtual worlds of the Grail Network itself.
  • The samurai Fighting Game in Snow Crash.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, the highly realistic simulators tend to either be played as games or Unwinnable Training Simulations. Sometimes both. In the Hand of Thrawn duology, Supreme Commander Pellaeon sometimes used an AT-AT simulator. It was frustrating sometimes, but enough unlike his normal duties that it was actually a form of relaxation. Of course, it also meant that he became more familiar with how the machines performed on different terrains, which meant that he might be better able to deploy them.
  • Somewhat similar to the above, in Diane Duane's The Wounded Sky, Sulu put together a spaceflight simulator on the rec deck holotank that lets him play with unconventional sublight combat tactics (flying a starship as if it were a high performance atmospheric fighter). He insists that the underlying physics model is accurate, if on the outer edge of the performance envelope for the Enterprise. Kirk comes in toward the end of a particularly spectacular session where Sulu manages to crash his simulated ship into a Klingon cruiser. A bit later in the book, a situation arises where highly unorthodox sublight combat is called for:

 Kirk: Mr. Sulu, you play tank games, don't you?

Sulu: Sir! Yes sir—

Kirk: Get it right this time.

  • The game of the same name in Only You Can Save Mankind.
  • The titular game in Killobyte. Piers Anthony also wrote a Xanth book revolving around a game, to give the designers the basic idea of what to make when they defictionalized it.
  • The plot of "Halting State" by Charles Stross starts with a major event in a World of Warcraft- style game called "Avalon four". Several other MMORPGs appear throughout the book.


Live Action TV

  • NCIS featured these commonly. Mostly MMOs. Most notably "Captains of Industry 3" a terrible MMO that barely anybody played.

 Abby: Captains of Industry 3. The completely unnecessary third installment of the not so popular sequel.

McGee: [sarcastically] Capturing all the fun of being a corporate CEO and building your own business empire.

Abby: Not playtime, Elf Lord.

McGee: You got that right. COI3 was universally panned as '08's worst MMORPG.

  • The second series of Look Around You had a whole segment on fictional 1980s games... some of which, such as Diarrhea Dan, actually did end up getting implemented in Flash.
  • Ace Lightning and the Carnival of Doom from Ace Lightning.
  • "Better than life" from Red Dwarf.
  • Caprica had a game called "New Cap City", a reference to Grand Theft Auto.
  • House had some sort of recurring alien FPS that first showed up being developed in season six. The enemies in the game were bird-monsters, and this was the clue that led to curing the game designer. Birds had been the cause of his illness, which the patient somehow psychically understood, and subconsciously incorporated into his game. Foreman and Taub are later seen playing it.
  • Horizon in Noob.


Music


Truth In Television


Video Games

  • Grand Theft Auto Vice City has commercials on its radio stations for the Degenetron game system, which features such titles as Defender of the Faith, "Where you destroy the blue dots with your powerful red square!" In San Andreas, you can actually play these games on retro arcade machines.
  • Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard is supposedly the latest incarnation of an entire fictional video game franchise.
  • The World from the .hack// franchise. (Yes, it's a videogame, where you play as a character playing a fictional videogame. Defictionalized, possibly, but certainly a hint meta and loving it.)
  • In the GameCube version of Animal Crossing, which included real NES games, the mayor, Tortimer, would give players the fictional NES game Super Tortimer as a present on April Fool's Day. Unfortunately, it can't be played; attempting to only results in a message that says it's an April Fool's Day joke.
  • No More Heroes has the SHMUP "Pure White Giant Glastonbury" game, and the sequel has "Bizzare Jelly 5", both of which you can play on Travis' TV.


Web Animation

  • Homestar Runner has quite a few of these made by the fictional company Videlectrix. Some have been defictionalized.


Web Comics

  • Years of Yarncraft in Sluggy Freelance (take a guess what it's a parody of).
    • Along with Fashion Rancher Waif on the PSP.
  • Chainsawsuit featured the recurring "Boiga Bruddas", a parody of early Mario games. Later, an American company remakes it as an ultra-violent first person shooter.


Web Original


Western Animation

  • In a classic episode of Muppet Babies (...what?), the babies play several video games, all of which are quite detailed. Kermit plays a game similar to Frogger, Rowlf plays an Adventure Game, and the main focus of the episode is on Gonzo and Miss Piggy's trek through "The Tale of Imelda." The final level of that game even references Metroid, as the writers have Shown Their Work. In fact, the sheer number of game references in the episode (to everything from good-old Pac-Man to Fantasy Zone to that exercise mat for the NES) suggests that somebody on the staff was a gamer of some sort.
  • Heroin Hero in South Park has been made into several different versions since its broadcast via Flash. (Just search Newgrounds.)
  • Everlot, from one episode of Kim Possible.
  • An episode of The Brak Show featured a fighting game with Atari-level graphics called "Headkicker". It was eventually adapted into Flash by Adult Swim.
  • The Games from Re Boot, in addition to functioning as disaster-level threats for the heroes to overcome, were also Fictional Video Games, frequently pastiches of real video game tropes and genres.
    • Word of God says the writers modeled the games after genres they happened to be interested in at the time.
  • The Simpsons has had several game parodies, but most have been one-off gags. An exception is "Earthland Realms," essentially a Simpsons version of World of Warcraft, which becomes the major focus of an episode. In stark contrast to the actual WoW, nearly everyone in the game looks and acts almost exactly like they do in 'reality'...Apu even runs a shop in the game.
    • There was the Punch-Out-like 'Super Slugfest' from "Moaning Lisa", 'Bonestorm' and 'Lee Carvello's Putting Challenge' from the shoplifting Christmas episode, the Crash Bandicoot-esqe game (Dash Dingo) Lisa plays in the episode where she stays home from school for some reason, and I think I remember Bart playing parodies of more recent games like Grand Theft Auto (also Grand Theft Scratchy from The Simpsons Game) and in the season 22 Treehouse of Horror Bart and Milhouse play a violent online wiimote-using game with their local pastor. Bart accidentally smacks Milhouse in the eye. Moving on to fictional arcade games... well there are sooooo many. Standouts include: My Dinner With Andre, The Touch of Death, Billy Graham's Bible Buster, Escape From Death Row, and Larry the Looter. Also in the background of one episode a polybius cabinet can be seen, but whether or not that game is fictional is... unresolved.
      • Kevin Kostner's Water World was a game shown in the Simpsons, but possibly unknown to them a Water World game actually existed for the Virtual Boy, Pc, and SNES (with one planned for the genesis but never distributed outside of the Sega Channel)
  • "Crunch Pod" from Pepper Ann. Take your three Pac-Man-looking creatures and bump the other player's from behind while avoiding attacks from the spinning saucer in the middle.
  • One episode of Dexters Laboratory featured Dexter trying to win a video game, which Dee Dee was a lot better at. Of course, he uses pretty much his entire laboratory for the task.
  • The Futurama pilot episode began with Fry playing an arcade Shoot'Em Up called Monkey Fracas, Jr.
  • Doug played "Space Munks" on the Super Pretendo.
    • And "Bag the Neematoad" at the arcade.
  • In Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends, Bloo has been shown playing Super Mega Blasteroids on the Gamecube.
  • The latest Wii Fit game as seen on Robot Chicken.
  • Arthur had Virtual Goose, a computerised version of a Hungry Hippos type game played by DW called Confuse the Goose (defictionalised as a pattern matching game); Virtual Goose 5.0, a sort-of MMORPG; and a couple of games based on Dark Bunny.
  • Johnny Test features a parody of Pokémon called Tinymon, which even features a Tinymon that looks like Lugia!
  • Super Pluckio Bros., a parody of Super Mario Bros seen in Tiny Toon Adventures. Curiously enough, sound effects from the actual SMB game can be heard in the episode said game was featured in.
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