"Don't panic!" Mr. Rasmussen
said again. "All you have to do is play the game as well and as quickly
as you can." With these words Giannine Bellisaro was left in the medieval
virtual reality world alone and helpless. Her quest? .....To gain the favor
of the royal court and those who remained loyal to the crown in order to
become Princess Janine. It was her only way out of the game. Luckily, the
game will give her as many "lives" as she needs, but who likes having to
restart a game from the very beginning over and over again? What began
as an innocent adventure using a birthday game certificate she was given
from her father, turned into a nightmare. This nightmare began when the
people from the Society to Prevent Cruelty to Children broke into the game
shop and began damaging equipment causing a malfunction in her virtual
game. Now, if she can only make the best choices to help her finish the
game or be lost forever! (Angela Alberty, email@example.com,
University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC)
In the last thirty minutes,
Giannine has died at least twenty times, and it is starting to get annoying!
After all, each time she dies, she has to start the game over! It is really
her father’s fault – for her birthday, he got her a gift certificate good
for thirty minutes in a total immersion virtual reality video game. Thanks
to the great graphics and cute prince in the advertisement, she chose Heir
Apparent, a medieval game where she has to solve various political intrigues
and other dangers in order to take the throne. She is just starting to
get the hang of staying alive when someone from outside the game contacts
her to tell her that protestors have damaged the equipment, and now her
only safe way out is to win the game. As if that was not pressure enough,
he also tells her that she only has about an hour before the broken equipment
damages her mind and makes death in the game a permanent experience.
Prepared by: Amanda LeBlanc
for South Carolina
Junior Book Award 2005
Do you like to play video games, maybe even virtual reality games?
Well, I'm going to tell you about a character that also likes to play those
kinds of games.
Giannine Bellisario has received a $50 gift certificate to Rasmussen Enterprises,
a gaming center (like an arcade), for her 14th birthday. She decides
to spend that certificate on a total immersion game called “Heir Apparent.”
A total immersion game is a game where the player actually experiences
the adventures because a computer stimulates the player’s brain.
In other words, the player smells the smells, feels different textures
as well as heat and cold, and the player can experience pain. After
Giannine has begun playing “Heir Apparent,” where the player tries to be
the next ruler of a kingdom, a technical difficulty or glitch arises.
There are protesters outside the gaming center, and they cause some problems.
Because of this problem, Giannine is in big trouble. Usually, if
a player in a total immersion game lost, the game would be over and the
player could decide whether to play again. However, because of the
technical difficulty, if Giannine loses, she could be brain damaged or
even worse. Read Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde to see if Giannine
can make the right choices not only to win the game but also to survive.
(Karen Williamson. firstname.lastname@example.org,
Pickens High School, Pickens, South Carolina)
What if a virtual reality game
could go all too wrong and become a real life survival game for the player?
Well, that’s exactly what happens in this book, with the help of demonstrators
for virtual reality censorship, who vandalize the computer gaming center
while players are already immersed in their games. Giannine is celebrating
her fourteenth birthday alone in a total immersion game, “Heir Apparent”,
just as this happens. “Heir Apparent” is set in medieval times, with all
kinds of fairy tale characters and twists: a head-chopping statue, an army
of ghosts, a human-eating dragon, a riddling dwarf (a la Rumpelstiltskin),
a magic ring, and more. Giannine discovers that this is no longer a game;
she must fight for her life. This tale is “Matrix” meets “Dungeons and
Dragons” meets Bruce Coville’s The Monsters of Morley Manor meets Gail
Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted: a funny, suspenseful story with Vivian
Vande Velde’s trademark originality. (Jean B. Bellavance for Pennsylvania
Young Reader's Choice Awards, 2004-2005)