• The Game

  • The Game Is Life, Book 1
  • By: Terry Schott
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 9 hrs and 19 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (2,131 ratings)

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The Game  By  cover art

The Game

By: Terry Schott
Narrated by: Luke Daniels
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Publisher's Summary

What if life as we know it was just a game?

What if instead of traditional schools, children learned by participating in a virtual reality simulation, one that allowed them to experience "life" from birth to death - multiple times?

What if one player, on his final play, could change the world forever?

©2015 Terry Schott (P)2016 Podium Publishing

What listeners say about The Game

Average Customer Ratings
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A good concept mired by lazy writing.

Any additional comments?


The concept of The Game is a somewhat classic and attractive concept to sci-fi fans; that of a completely immersive VR world akin to that found in The Matrix. It plays with interesting ideas like 'what if life is just a computer simulation', and 'how might society change in response to the development of highly advanced VR'.

In general, the writing style and character development are fairly solid, and the performance is great. But the world-building itself, the most interesting prospect of the book, is executed terribly, and between the lines can be found an anti-atheistic message.

I get the distinct impression that this book was written for teens. Not in that the content itself is targeted towards teens, but rather, that there is an assumption of undeveloped intelligence and a lack of worldly knowledge that the author has used to justify lazy world building.

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To give a few examples (very mild spoilers):

1) We are told that viewing players in the game has replaced all other forms of entertainment (TV, movies, books, video games, etc). The only explanation given is that watching important, extraordinary, or popular people live out their day-to-day lives is obviously better entertainment, which it obviously is not.

2) We are told that time passes at a rate of 1 virtual year per 1 real day. We are also told that it is impossible to record the game. No explanation is given as to why recording is impossible (or how viewings are done), and no explanation as to how viewing is possible, especially given the differing rates of time, and no ability to record (and thus no playing back recorded video at a slower speed).

3) Lastly, we are told, in several pieces, that society has changed to completely revolve around the game. This includes the economy, education, entertainment, and the extreme classism that has since developed. Nearly no details are offered to explain how this came to be, or how society currently functions. There is, in essence, nearly zero actual word-building.

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The book also seems to promote an approach to life that abandons healthy scepticism and rational inquiry. While the protagonists seek out and absorb all that alternative medicine and religious studies have to offer, there's a telling absence of interest in science and evidence-based medicine. There also seems to be the clear message that faith and prayer are positive and effective forces, and that the absence of religion would ruin society.

I've read and enjoyed many fictional books with religion, magic, spirituality, or angels and demons as a central theme, the problem here is the execution; its inclusion seems to be for the purpose of delivering a message, rather than serving the story. I might not have bothered with this point if I weren't convinced that the book is targeted at a younger audience.

In closing, this book was a huge disappointment for me, and I certainly won't be purchasing its sequels. Decerning readers of fantasy and sci-fi should consider looking elsewhere.

58 people found this helpful

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pulls at the questions at the back of my mind

Not by the synopsis alone. I preordered The Game. From an unknown to me author. With the backing of one of my go-to narrators and a publisher, that does a really good job of picking up extraordinary titles. The summary pulls at the questions at the back of my mind. Why are we here? How did we get here? What is the point of life? Well, what if the point of life was to do your best at it. All the while scoring points in the game called life. Wouldn’t that be something? That is exactly where Zach, the protagonist, finds himself. Albeit with a twist.

Tygon is a world very similar to Earth. Pretty much everything is very similar, technology, corporations, and the media rule. However, the one major difference is this. At a very young age, every child is plugged into “The Game”. Think of a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, similar to World of Warcraft. The world where the game takes place is a different planet called Earth. Everyone there is playing the game. Then everyone’s game life is available for the public to watch. If you get more fans and followers, when you come out of The Game you are rewarded with fame and fortune. But only if you have a fan base and can place in the ranking of all of the other players.

The Game follows one such player, Zach, through his “waking up” from a game and starting another instance. We get to follow his game life, from birth to his 40th birthday. Because in the game 1 day on Tygon is 1 year on Earth. This happens pretty quickly. I do not want to give too much away here, so let me say this. What if while in The Game you found a book that you wrote in your last game, and have no memory of writing, explaining that life is just a game. Along with that, what if you started to tell people this and they believed you?

Schott’s idea here is so perfectly epic. Yet so simple as well. Written in a way that makes sense to me. I was engrossed from beginning to end. Not wanting to stop listening for anything. I had to know what happened next.

WARING: There is a cliffhanger ending. Followed with a brief sample of the next book in the series that cannot be published soon enough.

Luke Daniels delivered this performance just as soundly as most of the rest that I have heard. Using his “trademarked” character voices. That all seem to always fit the story perfectly. For younger to older males. Female voices that are more believable than most speak. Full of strategic pauses and other unspoken traits of a truly skilled narrator. Going to file this under “Classic Daniels”.

Audiobook was purchased for review by ABR.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog

[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

41 people found this helpful

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Remarkably Awful - Wouldn’t Recommend To Anyone With An Average IQ Or Higher

The basic premise is intriguing - What we perceive as reality is simply a simulation. This is truly the only positive comment I can make.

- Weak character development
- Weak plot
- Awful first-person POV switching
- Lazily researched or topic is over the author’s head.

When I heard that much of the technology Tychonians enjoy were a result of discoveries made in the simulation, I nearly stopped listening. Tychonians had the physics, material, and infrastructure to create a “super computer” capable of processing an Earth simulation, and yet, they only learned to create airplanes by observing the Wright brothers in the simulation. How does that make sense? What’s more, the “super computer” also bragged about processing a million+ bits per second. Was this written in 1960?

Even when I mentally filtered out the ignorance, the story was incredibly boring, and I never felt emotional for the characters.

I truly can’t understand how there are so many positive reviews. I’m sorry..I feel like this was a lazy piece of work with a disjointed plot, and it’s a terrible waste of time. Glad it was free.

37 people found this helpful

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The Matrix Meets Divergent

Overview/The Good
If you enjoyed the Divergent or Mocking Jay series, you will similarly like "The Game". The writing style is solid and Luke Daniels' performance is rock solid like always. The story proceeds along parallel lines: A 'real' world and a 'simulation' world. In a interesting turn of the trope, EARTH is the simulated world and the real world is some other planet (earth analogue). The idea that we are living in a simulation is getting some attention in the science community, and even Tesla creator, Elon Musk, toys with this idea. Viewed from that perspective, the plot and character interactions provide fertile soil to consider what such an idea means in a way teens could grasp. A moderately discerning mind can pull allusions to Plato's allegory of the cave and various topics in theology and metaphysics.

Needs Improvement
Full disclosure: I was expecting more of LITRPG-style book. I read three other LITRPG books and 'The Game' popped up in my 'based on past purchases' feed. In fact, it has essentially the same name of a great LITRPG by Cosimo Yap. With that said, it's not strictly speaking LITRPG. Sure the plot centers around a game in which there's rules, but even after reading it, I couldn't tell you how one wins at it. I know there's some formula involving how successful you are in your game life combined with how many people watch your game life.

The ambiguity surrounding the game leads me to my main criticism. There's a lot of hand-waving over seemingly important plot pieces. Ultimately, since the writing is well crafted, I'm going to chalk this up to lazy story-building. Perhaps the target audience is teens? Even so, it's somewhat insulting that some of the major important supporting information for plot points are ignored or glossed over. This also creates a feeling that Schott is trying to convince me of certain theological stances rather than creating a compelling story.

Overall, it's an entertaining book. I don't think I'll read the sequel despite the "cliff hanger" ending. At least not yet. I have other books in my queue that I'm more interested in.

21 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Great book, if you like exposition.

This book lacked story, excitement, and real character development. I felt that 2/3 of the book was exposition. so much of the book was spent explaining the concepts of the world rather than moving along the story. Sure, the exposition was done in a variety of ways that kept it fresh, but there was simply too much of it.
The audio performance was great.

12 people found this helpful

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Makes other books look good

I rarely rate books poorly but this was really bad. At first I thought it was the narration but actually that was very good, it's just what he had to read was bad. Did the author even think about the timeline and what the implications of one day equaling one year actually means to the story?? Or the fact they can't talk to the main characters unless meditating but they can talk to the eternals so they tell the eternal to teach the main character to meditate... just #*$&ing tell the eternal the message and pass it on! I get logical gaps but this book was to the point of absurdity. Ugg this was a wasted credit! No I'm going to think positive... this makes me appreciate the other books I've read more.

10 people found this helpful

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Not impressed

I felt like the author was attempting to enlighten me about living as opposed to entertaining me with a story of fiction.

10 people found this helpful

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Fun-Loving Gamer Novel — Minus the Fun

Another entry in the virtual reality sub-genre of science fiction. The twist here is that the players in The Game don’t remember their real-life existence and they live out entire virtual life spans learning skills and acquiring credits for upgrades on future game play. Some of the ideas are intriguing to think about but at the end I did not feel compelled to continue with the series – not immediately anyway. This novel takes itself very seriously and such an approach must then deliver with profound themes and the resulting advice on better living. But this book is a fun-loving gamer oriented story. I could love it if it had a bit more fun in the mix. Does the sequel offer more fun?

The fantastic Luke Daniels delivers just as I have come to expect. His efforts would have been much more appreciated if he had some elements of humor to work with. And that is the primary factor in my dissatisfaction with The Game. I regret that this sounds a bit harsh but after experiencing the Frontlines series narrated by Luke Daniels I got used to Daniel’s sarcasm. I missed that here.

7 people found this helpful

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Great fun story

To start, I got this book because of Luke Daniels. Second the synopsis reminded me of Ready player one, which is one of my Favorite books. Truth be told though this book stands on its own two feet. The world building and character building is superb. I couldn't stop listening. The only thing that got me down was the cliff hanger. I look forward to more stories from the world of E.A.R.T.H and true.

7 people found this helpful

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Intriguing no doubt, much potential

Luke did great as usual. Eager for next installment and hope the story continues its upward arc. Personally I would like more sound effects and music in books, not much, but some and I may be in the Minority. True and Dani and the rest of the cast piqued my interest. Recommended. Please continue to explore. Question. How does Jesus play into this game world? My brain tries to tie in the inception of this since it was a replacement for childhood. Maybe someone or next books will explain. Well done overall. No dull or lull.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Norma Miles
  • 02-18-18

We don't just want the game, we need it.

Youth is wasted on the young, it is said, and in a world society becoming disfunctional, the Game was created to give full life experience to youngsters, to grow and make mistakes in safety and learn without it impacting on their futures. The hope for better behaved and fully functional future citizens did not quite work when the populations not inside the Game became hooked on watching those who were. And the finances became dependent on it
It is the 30th anniversary of the first one played, and this is to be special.

A total Immersion story with some clever, sometimes thought provoking ideas, following in particular two of the players, Zak and Danny, both experienced from past games and this will be their last. Both hope to win the vast fortune which waits for the person emerging as number one, enough to retire in comfort for all their lives as well as aquiring the adulation from their fans. Both enter, as do all the players, with no rememberence of any other world or life, born into it and growing older just as they would outside. For them it is real life, until death, when it finally comes, returns them back to their immersion chambers only weeks or months older than when they entered.

Read by Luke Daniels, his interpretation of the character's voices is distinct and individual, the narration flat, well articulated and expressive, all of which enhances the pleasure of the book. This is the first of what will be an enjoyable and interesting series beyond a simple LitRPG Fantasy series.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Adam Wilson
  • 02-24-17

Didn't grip me until the end

Promise for a very good story but I dont think I'll go any further.
I can see why people like the book so much the writer is clearly very talented and the performance is fantastic,did keep me entertained.
As said in the headline the end of the book was fantastic, I was expecting something with the few explanations before hand and character re-appearance but it did surprise me!
That said, it was a little drawn out. Over explanations on things, some characters I'm still a bit confused about but no doubt that gets ironed out later on. I just have a feeling the talking and explanations will draw out even more in the next few books so will keep it on the shelf.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 02-14-17

Was Expecting Morer

What other book might you compare The Game to, and why?

Ready Player One (but not as good).

Which character – as performed by Luke Daniels – was your favourite?

I though Luke Daniels did a marvellous job with all the characters but none of them really resonated with me which surprised me as I've been toying with the idea that this world is a simulation from well before The Matrix movies; I would have expected to connect in some way with a character thinking the same way.

Any additional comments?

This is an entertaining book with a good twist on the "gamer" type story. I do think the author could have done so much more with the idea by really tying it into the reader's life. I believe that a really great author could have struck a chord with his audience and left readers wondering if our reality might actually be a simulation as well but unfortunately this book never achieved that. It is worth a listen though and I will probably get the other books in the series to find out what happens to the characters.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Paul
  • 03-11-20

Dull!

Waited for it to get more interesting - then it ended! I won’t be listening to the other books.

Nothing really happens, I just found it so dull.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Laura Orange
  • 08-13-21

Loved this! Amazing book!

Didn’t really know what to expect, a few mixed reviews but it was on audible plus so gave it a whirl after looking for a Hunger Game/Maze Runner vibe. I found this book amazing! I loved the story , the characters and the message! Just so relieved there are more books in this series! Would happily pay for each of them if they are as good as this one. Will be recommending to anyone who will listen!! Honestly can’t rave enough, I’ve listened to hundreds of audibles and this is up there for me and definitely one I will listen to again in the future!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ade
  • 08-12-21

Will be listening to the rest of the series

Really good storyline and narration. Refreshing to find something ready player one like vibe but completely different at the same time

2 people found this helpful

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  • katkab
  • 08-04-21

Enjoyable book.

Great book, I enjoyed it a lot. Luke Daniels is a truly Great narrator. A very original and engaging concept. It kept my interest throughout the book. I am now going to listen to the next book. A hidden gem!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 11-07-19

I read the book first, and I liked it

A while back, I visited a friend and we got talking about books we've read. He told me about a book he read, and I told him to email me the book information and I'd check it out. That was this book, The Game Is Life. It is on amazon as a free ebook and I grabbed it and started reading it. A few chapters in and I was already hooked on the story, and decided to grab the audible version so I could also listen to it while I drive to work and back... and then I heard Luke Daniels narrating, so good. He really does make the book pop with characters and is really entertaining to listen to. He manages to give every person in the book a different voice and charm.
It's really hard to give much in the way of details about the story in this book without spoiling it. The basic plot is all school kids are required to play 'the game' time over the course of a few months in a VR simulation. The VR simulates everything from being born to getting a job and education, learning skills and growing old. They exit the simulation when their virtual body dies. This is where it gets exciting. When they enter the virtual reality simulation they don't know it's a simualtion, it's real for them. They can't remember anything from outside the VR world they're in, and how well they play is scored when they exit the game. The better they score the more money they make in their real life, and they retain the memories of the life time(s) they've played in 'the game'... and that's not even the story part....
If you like the Matrix, and have enjoyed other books like Ready Player One (without all the 80's popculture references) then you'll enjoy this book... however, this book does end quite abruptly leaving you wanting more. Having binge listned to the rest of the books in the series, you won't be disappointed if you decide to go for it, but you probably do want at least the 2nd book.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr B Roberts
  • 07-16-18

Showed promise but failed to deliver

I really liked the premise of the novel, and it started out well, but I lost interest as the story went on. I couldn't relate to the characters and the fantasy element set on a different world didn't work for me at all. The book often goes into philosophy about what is the best way to live your life, but I was more interested in the plot rather than this other side. I don't think I will listen to anymore titles in the series.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. Dg Thomas
  • 10-23-21

gripping

if you like similar and computer similar this is great. bit slow to start but gets better. keep listening it is worth it

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tim
  • 12-15-21

starts with far too much exposition

could not get into this one.

far too much explaining for no good reason and a complicated world building that does not seem internally consistent.

not a fan.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-05-22

should be named simulation, games are fun.

the writer forces his ideas down your throat. the characters are just a vehicle for his ideas. if you're looking for a journey in a magical realm with interesting comrades look elsewhere.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-30-22

Are We Just Somebody's Game?

I did not think I was going to like this book, but once I got into the story I was hooked! Excellent ideas and nice twists!!

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  • Leigh
  • 09-09-22

Excellent balance of dystopian sci-fi and spirituality

I really loved how there was meaningful snippets of life advice interspersed throughout this great storyline. It wasn’t just meaningless entertainment and had a good blend of spirituality as well. It’s easy to get on board with the main characters and the plot is well developed.

I’d definitely recommend this for anyone who’s looking for a bit more of a thought provoking dystopian listen.

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  • Jessie
  • 09-06-22

Absolute Gem!

The narrator is magical, with voices so convincing, there is no mistaking which character is speaking. Luke Daniels has a rare talent, I will definitely be looking out for more stories narrated by him.

Terry Schott is a genius! This is the first time I have experienced one of his works of art, but I'm definitely hooked! A big thank you to Shawn Inmon, the author, who encouraged his readers to give this series by Schott a go, I'm definitely not disappointed and can't wait to continue the series! I think I've found another favourite author to add to the very small list!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-25-22

Stupid

What is the point of this? I listened to this but I did not finish. Some random dude plays a VR game and plays until he dies. He comes out and is the richest person in the world. He has everything he could ever want. If you like a book with a character that does minimal things, this is the book for you but if you don't, then you SHOULD NOT buy this book. I am pissed that I wasted my time and money on this stupid book. I highly don't recommend this book to anyone who values their time and money.