The Video Game Adventures of Monte McGnarly

The Video Game Adventures of Monte McGnarly

8 gaming tales by George Giese

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Features on

A few months ago, a fellow video game lover released an imaginative anthology containing 8 lyrical stories based on games from his childhood. Having just read through it, here are my thoughts on this delightful collection of game-inspired tales.

Photo of NES games and The Video Game Adventures of Monte McGnarly book
So many gaming memories...

Before reading Volume One of The Video Game Adventures of Monte McGnarly, I assumed it would be stories based directly on classic games. Instead, it presents 8 separate adventures that are merely loosely inspired by old-school games. Before diving into those, you're treated to a lovely prologue where Monte McGnarly goes to a garage sale with is mom. I can relate to this very well because I remember doing that all the time growing up. Anyway, the man in charge gives him a box of games along with a hat and tells him that if he wears the hat, he can transport into the games. So, Monte McGnarly goes home and plays game after game as he imagines himself transporting to the magical worlds within them. Or, perhaps he actually transported to the virtual game worlds; who's to say?

Inspirations for Volume One: Old Video Games

The following is a list of the video games that inspired the first book of The Video Game Adventures of Monte McGnarly. The fictitious game titles that are original to the book are in brackets.

  1. The Legend of Zelda (The Hero of Colors)
  2. Star Fox (The Pilots Four)
  3. NBA Jam (The Rim Turns to Gold)
  4. Super Mario Bros. (Dome Jumper)
  5. Excitebike (Dirt Bike Debonair)
  6. WCW vs. nWo: World Tour (Mister Main Event)
  7. Ninja Gaiden (Balloon Ninja)
  8. Paperboy (Pizza Boy)

Obviously, there's a substantial amount of variety among the games that George Giese decided to write stories about so some chapters will be more appealing than others for most readers but I still had fun reading through stories based on NBA Jam and WCW vs. nWo: World Tour even though I've never actually played those games. Each story is written in a lyrical way with rhyming couplets so it not only makes for an entertaining read, it's also a great book to read to your kids at bedtime.

As I've already mentioned, the stories are only loosely based on classic games. For example, the Dome Jumper chapter (inspired by Super Mario Bros.) has an invisible wall persistently chasing Monte McGnarly which is clearly referring to the edge of the screen in the old Super Mario games. However, not that many stages actually had an automatically scrolling camera as most scrolled only as you ran. It also features a creature who's very similar to Yoshi even though Yoshi wasn't introduced until Super Mario World.

One thought that I kept having as I read through the stories is that indie developers could easily translate these tales into actual playable games. George does a fantastic job describing each scenario and game world in a way that you can easily imagine every chapter being its own real life video game. This is especially true in The Hero of Colors chapter. If someone made that game, I'd totally play it.

Well, those are my thoughts on this debut book. I'd write more but I really don't want to spoil anything. So, be sure to visit an online retailer to pick up a copy of The Video Game Adventures of Monte McGnarly Volume One: Old Video Games for yourself. Also, like Monte McGnarly on Facebook and follow George Giese on Twitter for plenty of retro gaming goodness.

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