Announcement: The Lost Worlds of Power, call for submissions!

The Lost Worlds of Power

Calling all writers / humorists / parodists / gamers / whatever else you are. This is an official announcement of a one-off fiction anthology that I will be assembling, and I need your submissions!

The anthology is called The Lost Worlds of Power, and I would love to get as many submissions as possible, so please pass this on to any writers you know who might be interested in being published in a collection!


The Concept: Worlds of Power was a series of notoriously awful and totally inaccurate novels based on popular video games. What we’re doing is writing more of them! I want you to choose a video game (see the rules below) and novelize it. If you aren’t familiar with Worlds of Power, you can read a bit about the series here. You can also read my reviews of two of the books (with excerpts) here and here.

The Final Product: The Lost Worlds of Power will be an electronic, one-off fiction anthology. I will not sell it, and will make no profit off of it. In fact, I will pay out of pocket to have it professionally designed and formatted…and hopefully illustrated. I will host it here for free download, and I’d encourage anyone interested to host it and distribute it themselves as well. It should be something a lot of people can enjoy, and your submission should see a wide and appreciative audience!

The Style: You’ll be writing a “lost” installment in the Worlds of Power series! The obvious route here would be to write something intentionally bad, but that’s not the route you have to take. All styles, lengths and degrees of artistic merit are wanted. If you want to be outlandish and silly, that’s perfect. If you want to write a heart-stopping work of emotional brilliance based on T&C Surf Designs, that’s equally perfect!

The Length: There’s no hard and fast length requirement. Use as much or as little space as you like. The original Worlds of Power books were only around 100 pages long, with large type, so probably around 40 or 45 pages of traditional text. You can shoot for that, or you can let the spirit move you. Personally, I’d encourage you to do the latter.

The Rules: Read carefully, and make sure you adhere to the following rules when submitting:

– Your “novel” must be based on a game that was released on the NES. It doesn’t have to be a game exclusive to the NES, there just needs to be a version of it that existed for the NES (or Famicom). If it was something that was originally an arcade game or was later ported to the SNES or Genesis, that’s fine!

– Games that were actually adapted into Worlds of Power books are not eligible. (Remember, the idea is to write a “lost” installment in the series.) Therefore Blaster Master, Metal Gear, Ninja Gaiden, Castlevania II, Wizards and Warriors, Bionic Commando, Infiltrator, Shadowgate, Mega Man 2 and Bases Loaded 2 are all off limits. You can, however, base your submission on a different game from those series.

– Only one adaptation of any given game will be selected for inclusion. In essence, if I get five submissions based on Super Mario Bros., I will only choose one of them, even if they’re all very good. For this reason it’s probably best to either choose something relatively less popular, or make sure you’re confident that the adaptation you’re writing will be the absolute best I receive!

– Be creative! Don’t just write out the events of the game…have fun with them! Get things wrong. Grossly misunderstand your protagonist’s motives. Skip over the best fights and spend time on mundane interactions with townsfolk! The Worlds of Power books are legendarily off the mark, so warp your filter a little bit! Do your Goombas look like carrots instead of mushrooms? Is Link’s traveling companion a rapping leprechaun? Does the dog from Duck Hunt travel through time and solve mysteries? Are your ideas better than these? I hope so, and I can’t wait to find out!

– You retain the rights to your submission (barring, obviously, any trademarked characters or titles you incorporate). I will only have the rights to collect and distribute it if you are selected for inclusion.

– Multiple submissions from the same author are allowed.

– We reserve the right to edit submissions for spelling, punctuation and formatting reasons.

What if I Don’t Know Anything About Video Games? The original Worlds of Power authors didn’t either! Just use the characters, settings, and / or plots as a springboard. From there, this is your story to tell!

The Prize: There is no financial or physical prize…just inclusion in the one-off Lost Worlds of Power collection. Still, it’ll be fun, and being published in a fiction anthology, no matter how small, is something that will be a great credit toward getting your future work published elsewhere! You’ll also be eligible for the title of First Person to Ever Brag About Writing a Worlds of Power Book.

The Deadline: Januaray 31, 2014. I know. That’s soon. Believe me, that’s a good thing. The Worlds of Power books aren’t known for being particularly well thought-out.

All submissions and questions should be sent to reed.philipj at I’m not picky about the format of your submission, as long as it’s a common file type (.doc, .rtf, .txt, etc.) and you’ve taken the time to proofread before sending it in.

Please let me know if you are interested in submitting. If enough folks are I’ll be more flexible with the deadline. The more the merrier, and I look forward to seeing your submissions!

Credit to James Lawless, die-hard Worlds of Power fan, for the idea!

37 thoughts on “Announcement: The Lost Worlds of Power, call for submissions!”

  1. Whoa. You know who would be really awesome at this? The Irate Gamer. That dude is HILARIOUS, and man, he sure knows his games!
    In all seriousness, this is a tempting project. This coming from a guy who hasn’t played a video game in over 30 years. (I didn’t even know what NES was until I clicked the link.) Idea: should there be some sort of sign-up board or something so that if I wanted to write about, say, Super Mario Bros., I could see if someone else was already planning to do it? Might save you the sad necessity of turning down well-prepared submissions because they were duplicates. Also, is there an alternative way to learn what was produced for NES and what the games were like other than Wikipedia?

    1. This claims to be a complete list. I can’t verify that much, but I can say it’s a nice resource. If you click on any of the links you can see some box art and a game summary, so that should help you decide if you want to look deeper into a specific game:

      There are also some best and worst lists you can look at for ideas:

      Regarding a “sign up sheet,” the same thought crossed my mind. It’s hard to solve the problem though, because with a sign up sheet I might have people signing up for Super Mario Bros., but then they either don’t get around to writing it or they write something I don’t feel is good enough to include. Therefore some other folks who would have written something great about it end up having to shuffle off and choose something they’d enjoy less.

      Neither situation is ideal…I will say this, though (to you and to everyone): if you really are concerned, let me know what game(s) you’ve narrowed it down to, and I’ll let you know if I’m aware of anyone else working on the same title. The folks who have expressed interest seem to also be letting me know what they’re doing, so I can give you a non-binding idea of whether or not you’re charting the same territory as someone else.

      A low-tech solution, I know. Maybe this will change, pending feedback from others.

      I really hope you do decide to submit something!

    1. Looking forward to it Robert! Let me know if I can help in any way; thanks for your interest!

  2. I’m currently writing something up during my free time at work. We’ll see if it amounts to anything worth submitting.

  3. I’m doing this. Work begins tomorrow on a story based on “Linus Spacehead’s Cosmic Crusade.” I have never played it or heard of it, but I think it will provide for a good springboard. One question, though…target readership is what age group? I need to know how to temper the violence/language/etc..

    1. Wow…I’ve never heard of that one either. I just looked up some footage though and it seems like something I probably would have liked. Nice find!

      And great question. I’ll add to the FAQ, which I’ll post with the rest of this information on its own page. I’ll be sure to include it.

      The short answer is it doesn’t matter. The original books were targeted at grade school kids (ages 7 – 12 to be slightly more specific), and you can absolutely adhere to the code of non-violence and no bad language that went along with that.

      However, you could also go the opposite direction, and create an absurd book packed with violence and profanity despite the fact that it’s marketed at children. The choice is yours…it’s just a question of what you want to “accomplish” with your story.

      Looking forward to it!

      1. …oh…now I have to -accomplish- something with my story? This might be out of my skill level…

        Oh well. I’m going for it anyway. Prepare yourself for a rousing tale of whatever-the-hell that game is about. Probably space.

        Although they practically threw the opportunity in my face for a story arc that explains how he got the name “Spacehead.”

  4. THIS. Having never read any of these “books” and having never really played a NES, this sounds daunting. On the OTHER hand, playing around with new ideas and stories inside an already created universe is EXACTLY the kind of writing I love! And a deadline too. Excellent.

  5. Quick question. Are games that were developed for the NES for commercial release but didn’t wind up seeing store shelves eligible? Because I’ve got this great story idea lined up based on Secret Ties. (Secret Ties was released in Japan as a Golgo 13 game, but not in America)

    1. If it was released in Japan, then yes, absolutely! It’s fair game. Even if it wasn’t…eh, that’s fine. If someone wanted to novelize The Grape Escape or something else that existed in prototype form but didn’t make it to release, I won’t discourage them!

  6. This is a great idea, I have fond memories of reading Mega Man 2 and Blaster Master. Is a graphic novelization eligible? I would prefer to do mine in comic form if I can.

    1. This is a great question. So great I can’t actually answer you just yet. My gut response is…probably not. I’d love to adhere as closely to the “spirit” of the original Worlds of Power books as possible, but honestly that’s secondary to the fact that including a graphic novel might be beyond my technical abilities right now.

      Give some thought to whether or not you’d be willing to write something in text format, and I’ll see what I can do regarding images. No promises, but I’ll definitely look into it!

      I hope to see you submit something! Thanks for the interest!

  7. I will absolutely be submitting a brilliantly horrific entry to this project Phil!

    What game to pick????

    1. I agree that that’s about as close to a can’t-miss prospect as it’s possible to get. Renegade needs a novelization!

  8. My track record for actually completing stories is not fantastic but I think I’m going to give this one the ol’ college try. 10-Yard Fight seems ripe for novelization, however tangentially related to football. Mostly ice cream. And magic.

  9. Not gonna lie – this seems like a hilariously themed project. The timing really couldn’t be much worse from my standpoint given I’m already tied into a huge writing project for NaNoWriMo. Still, I may have to try and chime in on this because the idea is amusingly inspired. :)

  10. An additional thought on this (I’ve been letting the idea marinate for a couple of days) – have you considered some sort of a public ‘sign up’ for this, like a Google Doc or something? The no duplication of games might be a turnoff to some people. This is not a small investment in time, and it would be a real bummer for someone who perhaps wrote a perfectly good story only to find out that someone else’s adoration for all things River City Ransom (name drawn out of a mental hat here) bumped their story out of submission. I would much prefer to go into this knowing that I’m the only one hitting a particular game topic.

    Of course, this means that someone might sign up to do River City Ransom, never complete it, and others had to pick other games they were less-inspired by, but I think this would help ‘protect’ the authors’ time and investment though.

    1. Yeah, I’ve gone back and forth on that. If you click the “Lost Worlds of Power” tab at the top of the page you’ll see the FAQ, and I go into it in a bit more detail, but basically I weighed both options and came down on the side of “no signups.”

      You can read a fuller answer there, but if you would like to check to see if anyone else has expressed interest in a certain title, you’re welcome to email me and I’ll let you know. :)

      1. *nods* Yeah, I saw that, and I understand the reasoning. Of course, I’m still pondering all of this in my head. An interesting idea, just at a very busy time of the year with console releases NaNoWriMo, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. That said, I have a few ideas bouncing around. :)

  11. I’m a Dayton-area writer and was passed along a link to this, and I’m definitely interested in submitting. It’s a shame it’s so soon after NaNo, but I think I can probably pull it off anyway. Hoping that enough people express interest that you push it back, of course. =P

    1. Haha, don’t count on that! I’ve had a lot of interest, but I wouldn’t bank on a deadline extension just yet. Originally I had it at the end of December, but with NaNo and then the holidays, I thought the end of January was a lot more fair.

      So…stay tuned. I’m not saying another extension is out of the question, but I would caution against expecting one!

      Good luck with NaNo, and your submission! Feel free to get in touch if I can help in any way!

  12. I love this idea, and I sort of want to do it just because of the shout out you gave to T&C Surf Designs. I remember playing that and wondering why I was wasting my life.

    I’m thinking that Maniac Mansion needs a Lost Worlds of Power adaptation.

    1. You were a smart kid if you played that and wondered why you were wasting your life. I just played it and wondered why the surfing Gorilla wasn’t doing anything I told him to do.

      And yes! Maniac Mansion is perfect. It was also one of my favorite NES games, so I’d absolutely look forward to reading a ropey novelization of that.

      Thanks for your interest, Jenny! I see you were doing NaNo, so if you decide to turn your talents here next that would be awesome. Shoot me an email if there’s anything I can do to help!

  13. Linus Spacehead has been submitted to your email. It’s a proofread first draft so feel free to give feedback on length, profanity, or what have you.

    Hope you enjoy it.

      1. I’m…not sure actually! What are you referring to? This project was covered by The Gameological Society (which never feels less magical to type) that’s part of Onion Publications, or whatever the parent company is there. Is that what you mean? If not, I apologize…it’s been a long, short week.

  14. Man, after bouncing around these past articles for months now it sucks that I came across this one 8 years too late. I would’ve LOVED to get in on this.

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