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Who is the author behind the innovative GameTales? Meet Nikola Raykov!

Game Tale

Game Tale





Game Tale


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It is fantastic, creative and amazingly suitable for children. I forgot I was supposed to r...



Game Tale

Grigor Gatchev, an author, blogger and a translator

(this review is a translation from Bulgarian)
(original review can be found here)

One of the people I’m proud to call my friends is Nikola Raykov. He’s a computer whiz, an artist, and last but not least, a young dad. :-)

When you become a dad, usually a lot of other things get pushed to the background. Computers and art included. However, perhaps hardships affect love of art as any other love—the way wind affects fire: it puts out small flames but makes great ones blaze. This is what happened to Nikola. Instead of giving up on art and focusing on taking care of his child, he’s harnessed his care into making art.

What child doesn’t need fairy tales? Perhaps one that has to grow up into a mutilated adult. Obviously, Nikola has no such plans for his children. The fairy tales he tells them are fascinating and imaginative. And, step by step, they’ve turned into a game: a game that is a fairy tale at the same time.

Do you remember gamebooks? I thought video games had long made them into relics from the past. Especially the ones where you merely run and shoot at anything that stirs. I thought the spinal cord had irrevocably replaced the cerebrum at the helm of our body and imagination. But very young children cannot yet survive on a zero-calorie diet. For them, we need to come up with real stuff.

Such as Nikola’s GameTale. It is fantastic, creative and amazingly suitable for children. I forgot I was supposed to read its sections in a certain order and instead went through it from front to back, in a reverie, admiring the clear, pure style, the childlike playful thought, the amazing associations. I won’t deny it, I’m rather privileged in this respect: I never grew up, and the odds I’ll ever manage to are slim. However ... for some reason, I’m fairly positive that even the proverbial accountant will enjoy this game—and never mind his spectacles, parted hair, and the pencil tucked behind his ear. Perhaps that was his destiny in the first place: to reach his middle age before he could become a three-year-old, fascinated by life, the unknown, and magic.

So go and read this book. You don’t even have to buy it: Nikola has made it free. And he’s explained why he did it—in simple words, humane and warm. Just like the tale itself. Yet I intend to buy it, as a paper copy.

Firstly, because people like its author deserve to be supported. Yes, the book is available online and will not be taken down. However, when we buy it, we stimulate Nikola to keep writing. To keep creating this kind of sunny magic. And give us the opportunity to read it.

Secondly, because I want to have this book. Not merely read it; I want to to own it. As Cory Doctorow says, to find a place for it on the cluttered shelves at home. To lend it, often almost forcibly, to friends whom I respect and love, pleading with them to read it—and hoping they will like it. To read it to my children so that they gain a sense of beauty and goodness early on, which will warm and support them for as long as they live. And finally to hand it down to them so that it stays with their children when I’m gone.

And thirdly, because I want to read it and re-read it, with pride and a clear conscience. To admire it, fully knowing I’ve paid my due. To envy Nikola secretly and dream of outdoing him—so that he can outdo me next, so that the beauty we create grows ever more genuine and wholesome. And so that I can smile happily and without any shame when I sit down for a meal with him.

... Enough said. Now please do not disturb me: I’m off to re-read the book again. :-)

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