What is LitRPG?

LitRPG fiction is a relatively new genre where the protagonist somehow ends up in a video game or a dungeons & dragons environment. While books that placed their main characters in games are not new, LitRPG focuses on the characters’ progression as they gain levels, unlock new skills and character classes, and use those skills and abilities in creative ways to overcome challenges. If you’ve ever played a role-playing game (rpg), whether video game style or tabletop style (dice, maps, and dungeon master), you know that this type of character leveling is a huge part of the appeal. Role playing games can require massive time commitments. As gamers have aged and become parents they may not have that kind of time to devote to a game. LitRPG, when done well, can provide an outlet for the rpg gaming experience without the massive time requirements. Teen gamers who enjoy rpgs might enjoy reading a story that mimics their structure. LitRPG can be a good way to get teen gamers into reading!

LitRPG first emerged in South Korea and then became hugely popular in Russia. Recently the genre is catching on in the United States. Many of these books are translated from Russian, although there is a new generation of American writers embracing the genre. One of these American authors is Edwin McCrae, who has written an excellent history and description of LitRPG on his website if you’re interested in learning more about it. In the meantime check out some examples of the genre below. When possible I’ve linked to a library copy of the book. Otherwise I linked the book to Amazon.