Can someone explain the attraction of LitRpg novels to me? - Myth-Weavers


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Can someone explain the attraction of LitRpg novels to me?

   
Can someone explain the attraction of LitRpg novels to me?

I've been scouring for new books lately and I've hit upon a lot of LitRpg. The genre has also overtaken anime and manga.

Now there are some good LitRpgs, things I can read and enjoy. If they are written well (hard to come by) and have a good story (easier to come by) I'll read and enjoy them. But they could be better served by simply using the same concept in a normal fantasy world (or sci-fi world, though most are fantasy). They could just as well be reincarnation novels or "portal to another realm" novels.

Why is using "you have gained a level" or "you've been hit by a Menacing Goblin for 10 HP" every several lines so popular? What's the attraction here compared to other similar genres?

Perhaps a certain degree of nostalgia for the old-school "Choose Your Own Adventure" type of books, repackaged into a format that is more easily digestible by the modern target audience?

I'd never heard of "LitRpg" before this, and I'm still not quite sure what it means. I also didn't know that actual books of anime and manga existed... so I guess I'm not well-placed to answer this one. It may be a function of where you're looking as much as anything, though.

It's easier to write RPG systems than bother creating a developed world. IE you could come up with with a fantasy world that has, for example, rules about sympathetic magic requiring certain acts and components to perform such and such magic in a certain way or you can just say "uh it's a fire spell. It costs 5 mp."

Light novels are, generally speaking, mostly wish fulfillment trash about overpowered characters, harems, and other dumb stuff. They might be fun, interesting, or entertaining (or not), but no one expects them to be held up as examples of fine literature. Since it's just about wish fulfillment, it's much easier to get the power part of the power fantasy across with RPG numbers. It's one thing to say Son Jnow is "one of the best swordsmen in the realm", it's another thing to say he is level 100 and the previously thought of as best fighter, Laime Jannister, is only 20. That's a huge power gap for casual readers to pick up easily.

Whether Jnow got there by grinding or luck the reader can feel cool like the character because they understand the feeling of getting to max level and killing all the early game trash mobs. And they also want the satisfaction of completely blowing out the jerks who mocked the(m) main character a few chapters ago. It's an easy framework to explain WHY a character is defeated so easily, or if there needs to be tension it can instantly be achieved by simply making a higher level enemy.

The generic RPG structure also allows tropes like the adventurers guild which is the laziest way of providing "plot" and also serves as a convenient salarymanization of RPG adventures to turn heroes into wage slaves, which again provides super easy context for the average Japanese reader to identify with the characters better.

Most importantly, it is a popular genre. Because it is a popular genre, lots of people are writing it. And because lots of people are writing it, publishers can pick whatever story they want to publish for minimal royalties. And since it's popular, it will sell. And since LN publishers are one of the main people who fund anime now, popular LNs get turned into anime to make money for LN publishers. And if those anime are popular, then that genre of LN remains/becomes more popular. And so on and so forth until the genre dies of absolute over-saturation.

I had to look up LitRPG, Fred, and was somewhat surprised to learn what it means, for what it's worth.

I had a pretty good guess right off the bat, doesn't hurt that I'm a fan of Sword Art Online, which is one of the best known examples.

In SAO the characters exist in an MMO, right? Like, not just in the fictional setting of Warcraft but actually in the video game World of Warcraft. So to me it makes sense that they hit a goblin and 140 in red numbers pops up over the creature's head.

I did not know this was a thing. I enjoyed SAO (well most of it) and I always thought it was just part of the isekai genre. Even if it didn't really explore any of the really interesting dynamics of its situation it was a fun little read.

It kind of makes sense though. When you write fan fiction you are relying on an established lore to build your stories upon. Rules for how things work are already defined and understood by the reader. By using an RPG system as the foundation you can root your story in the same sort of bedrock and linguistic shorthand without needing to rely on a copyrighted franchise. It qould be like fan fiction but you get to own it. Plus RPGs are so pervasive that they are practically a genre unto themselves and calling on rpg tropes and references would be just as satisfying as making cultural references and in jokes

Kindle Unlimited is full of them and it's easy to try one and quit if the story is dumb without costing me anything. Sometimes I'm in the mood for a serious book and sometimes it's fun to read about people who are on life support communicating with new friends through VR RPGs. Either way it's great... sometimes! And low investment when it's not.

Afterlife Online and Bushido Online are both pretty good. I give a crap about the main characters and also the story in the world.







 

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