Fictional Video Game

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

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. Tends to overlap with The Most Dangerous Video Game, although such games are usually not designed with entertainment in mind.

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

Examples of Fictional Video Game include:

Anime and Manga



  • 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.
  • The Chronicle of Albertan, an MMORPG seen in the South Korean series Strong Girl Bong-soon. It's the flagship product of AINSoft, a company owned by one of the three main characters of the series (the screenshots viewers see of it are actually from Lineage Red Knights by NCSoft). AINSoft also makes other games, but the only one we learn about is Super Girl Bbong Ssuni, a side-scroller designed by one of the other main characters.


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.
    • Grand Theft Auto III also has ads for "Pogo the Monkey", which is later referenced by a Pogo the Monkey arcade in the cab firm from Vice City.
  • The Townies clique in Bully talk about this great game "where you kill people and take their stuff. What's it called again?" Grottos & Goblins.
  • 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 "Bizarre Jelly 5", both of which you can play on Travis' TV.
  • Space Quest had quite a few:
    • The third game had Astro Chicken, an arcade game found in the Monolith Burger. Roger finds a distress message from its developers while playing it.
    • A case of Leaning on the Fourth Wall, the Bad Future of the fourth game is called Space Quest XII: Vohaul's Revenge II. As stated, this is the fourth game, and there are only six in the whole franchise; Vohaul takes over by purposely infecting the game with Sequelitis.
      • The same game also has another time period that exists in Space Quest X: Latex Babes of Estros. Given the lore of the "regular" game, it stars an older Roger Wilco, and a plot involving marrying a woman named Beatrice.
    • The fourth one mentions some others that are parodies of real games, including Boom, Sim Sim, It Came For Dessert, and Where in the World is Hymie Lipschitz? All of them are in a game store's bargain bin and have rather bad descriptions, making this a Take That at various games. The bin also has King's Quest XXXXVIII, which is Biting the Hand Humor.
    • The sixth had Stooge Fighter 3, a parody of Street Fighter where the playable characters are lampoons of The Three Stooges. Supposedly this game is rare, with the only cabinet in the Dismembers Only arcade on Polysorbate LX. Roger can win 300 buckazoids by beating the score held by the seedy bar's owner, but needs a cheat code to do so, which he has to buy at the black market. Other games at the arcade include Lava Screens, Beat the Crap Out of Urkel, MBA Toejam, More Dull Kombat 2, Mixed-Up Mother Teresa and Virtual Amtrak.

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.
  • The Noob has ClicheQuest.
  • El Goonish Shive has Super Smash Goons Melee.

Web Original

  • The Guild revolves around a the members of a guild in a fictional MMORPG which strongly resembles World of Warcraft. Not until the season 4 finale is anything of the game actually shown, though it governs their lives.
  • provides us with the article The 12 Awesomest Games of 2010. Of particular note is S.N.A.F.U which earned its own detailed article.
  • During the first three volumes of RWBY we occasionally see Ruby and Yang (and others) playing a Fighting Game with their scrolls and a large projected "screen".

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 the Power Pad 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 ReBoot, 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 Super NES (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 Star Castle-esque spinning saucer in the middle.
  • Wiffle Boy in Darkwing Duck, a popular franchise with at least four games. The eponymous Wiffle Boy (sort of a parody of Mega Man) is the antagonist of the first installment, but the protagonist of the subsequent games.
  • In an early episode of Xiaolin Showdown, Kimiko tries to cheer Raimundo up by offering him her handheld system with Goo Zombies II, which is supposedly a hot-selling new title.
  • One episode of Dexter's 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 Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Bloo has been shown playing Super Mega Blasteroids on the Gamecube.
  • The latest[when?] 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.
  • Cyber Chase from Scooby Doo and the Cyber Chase. This game involves the player maneuvering through ten levels (the moon, Ancient Rome, prehistoric-theme, Ocean floor, Japanese-theme, Egyptian-theme, Medieval-theme, Arctic, and finally, City) avoiding enemies appropriate to the level (including villains from the original series, like Creeper and Old Iron Face). To progress from one level to the next, the player has to find and grab a box of Scooby Snax.
  • In an early episode of Xiaolin Showdown, Kimiko tries to cheer Raimundo up by offering him her handheld system with Goo Zombies II, which is supposedly a hot new title.
  • Tempestra's Revenge in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Leonardo is the only player able to reach the Final Boss (an Evil Sorceress named Tempestra, naturally) of this Nintendo Hard game, and became obsessed as he is unable to defeat the her; a lightning storm somehow brings said Final Boss to life, seemingly taking Leo's yearn to defeat her very personally...
  • The Star Trek: Lower Decks episode "The Least Dangerous Game" starts with the Lower Deckers playing Bat'leths & BiHnuchs, a sort of high tech combination of Dungeons and Dragons and VCR board game. The host is a virtual representation of Martok, hilariously depicted by J. G. Hertzler, reprising the role as a VA. The game is marketed by Ferengi, so naturally, it is an Allegedly Free Game.

Real Life