8 Bit Bastards. Joshua Mason Author Interview.
So, introduce yourself!
My name is Joshua Mason. I’m a Gamelit/LitRPG author among other things and author of 8 Bit Bastards. I recently spent five years in Indonesia, where I met my wife. I have a degree in archaeology, which sounds cool but doesn’t lend itself to full time employment. Currently living in Seattle, WA, but a permanent move to Indonesia might be in the cards.
If you think archaeology is pretty useless, well I have a music degree so it must be a step up from that. Anyway, why 8 Bit?
Oh man… why not? Games were different then. These days everything’s open world and pushing photo realism. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll play Skyrim til the sun comes up. But it never gave me the sense of elation that FINALLY
beating the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles underwater level did. Probably
spent more time in that sewer than all the wastelands of Fallout combined.
Plus its just the nostalgia factor. The black box covers on the original
NES make a lot of OG gamers pine for the days of yore.
That Turtles level is a rotter. So you used to be a Nintendo gameplay counsellor. What did that involve?
Nintendo Game Play, this is Josh, how can I help you? Ah, you’re playing
Link to the Past and can’t find the hammer? Happy to help!
Basically this was before the dawn of the internet… and for the price of
a phone call to Washington State you could get answers to any Nintendo
game. We had a walk through to every game on our computers.
Half the time, like in the Zelda Hammer call, they just needed to know what
to do next, and nine times out of ten it wasn’t the hammer they needed.
A lot of the same questions popped up over and over, so I ended up
memorizing the FAQs. Which was nice… we had access to every Nintendo game ever made, and if I knew the answers I didn’t have to put down my
Then, the internet happened, and that was that.
We had them in the UK! But my mam said they were too expensive and would never let us call. So is this your first book?
Nope. My first published book was Steam Whistle Alley: An Adventure in
Augmented Reality. It’s set here in Seattle in the near future. In a
nutshell, AR goggles turn the city into a steampunk flavored RPG. Also an
audiobook out for it read by the talented Sena Bryer.
I love a bit of Steampunk. In fact I know a really talented Steampunk graphic novel writer…..but that’s another website for another time. Can you just let us know, what is LitRPG? I am not familiar with the genre.
It’s a novelization of a role playing game. There’s lots of tropes… new
full immersion VR game hits the streets… trapped in the game somehow…
the LitRPG community comes up with some crazy stuff. Basically there has to be RPG like level and stat progression that the plot is built around. It
comes in two flavors, crunchy and light. Crunchy are very heavy on the
stats, with constant stat tables, level notifications, quest notifications,
item boxes. Everything you would see in a good RPG, in book form. Light LitRPGs, like mine are more story driven, but 8 Bit Bastards does have a few retro themed stat boxes and notifications. LitRPG is a subset of the Gamelit genre, which is not so strictly defined. Ready Player One really got the ball rolling on the Gamelit genre.
Can you give us a brief plot outline of both level one and if possible (without spoilers) level 2.
The main character, Sean, lives in a virtual afterlife called Afterall. He’s
been there for 700 years. He has mastered all sorts of stuff… woodworking, carving, you name it. Lots of free time when you’ve been alive for centuries. An old flame shows up and tells him that a direct descendant has hacked his way in. The sim has been closed for 50 years, so the AI parked the intruder in the Bitrealm… a pixelated homage to some of the first video games, which Sean actually played as a kid. 8 Bit Bastards books 1 and 2 both revolve around this quest. There’s a lot of nods to these old games. Retro gamer’s will have a ball.
What was the inspiration behind the book?
Basically my love of the hobby and the Gamelit genre. I like doing things
nobody has really done instead of rehashing the same stories. 8 Bit Bastards just kinda built itself from that.
Ok, to end can you give us three games that you feel influenced the book.
The first RPG I ever played was Dragon Warrior on the NES. I think I was
12. I was blown away. Sat glued to the TV for hours. Faxanadu for visuals
and Earthbound/Mother for its general quirkiness. But everything is fair
game… the book opens with the MC playing through Princess Tomato in the
Thanks! Good luck with the book!
Hey guys, below are the affiliate links for Joshua’s books. Click them, buy them from Amazon. He gets paid, we get a small bit of Amazon’s share so we can spend it on keeping the site going and Joshua can carry on printing books. You get a really cool book to read!