I remember reading this book that was very interesting but never really got to finish it.

All I can remember is that there was a boy who snuck out to this casino like place and played a sort of shooter video game against some random dude. Almost got caught by the authorities by being there. The boy was extremely good at it.

He had to go to school but it was some virtual class? He didn't have a real dad I think his father figure was his older brother? (possibly?). But his brother didn't trust the government or something and accused one of the famous model/players on tv to be fake.

Anyways, the boy got admitted into some school for what he was good at, the virtual video games. But they weren't normal games, they had installed some chips into the students and they trained by entering a different reality to fight. They could feel pain like a normal fight.

There was some higher ranked girl who was basically the best of the best and the boy strived to beat her in a fight. I don't want to go on too long but I'd appreciate if anyone can find the title of this story it was very good!!

  • 6
    You say you don't want to go on too long, but if you have more, by all means do. You can put the more revealing details behind spoiler tags if you want. (Start the line with >!).
    – Mr Lister
    Feb 24, 2016 at 8:28
  • 3
    Meanwhile your title is very apt!
    – Möoz
    Feb 24, 2016 at 9:22
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    It's great that you describe the story in detail, it helps our 'private investigators'. But when did you read the book and did you get an impression of when it was published? For me, the theme 'kids at video game arcade' places the publication of the story in early 80's to early 90s. The movie Tron was released in 1982, so fighting in a virtual reality accesses via an arcade would be a well known trope for sf writers in the 80s
    – Abulafia
    Feb 24, 2016 at 13:07
  • This is somewhat similar to the TV Series Video Game High School. It is set in a futuristic world, a teenager gets in a School for video gamers. There he competes with the best player named "the Law". But Law is male. And There's nothing I could find about the brother.
    – Aegon
    Sep 7, 2016 at 15:19

2 Answers 2


As has been said, there are many possibilities. perhaps:

Insignia, S.J. Kincaid

The earth is in the middle of WWIII in Insignia, the first entry in S. J. Kincaid's fast-paced sci-fi adventure trilogy perfect for fans of Ender's Game.

The planet's natural resources are almost gone, and war is being fought to control the assets of the solar system. The enemy is winning. The salvation may be Tom Raines. Tom doesn't seem like a hero. He's a short fourteen-year-old with bad skin. But he has the virtual-reality gaming skills that make him a phenom behind the controls of the battle drones.

As a new member of the Intrasolar Forces, Tom's life completely changes. Suddenly, he's someone important. He has new opportunities, friends, and a shot at having a girlfriend. But there's a price to pay. . . .


It does have implanted brain interfaces that let the kids play virtual games (first) and then (later) control unmanned ships battling in space.

  • I actually recall reading this previously and my mind immediately jumped to it after reading the OP's summary.
    – user112267
    Apr 15, 2019 at 0:20

This sounds a lot like Tad William's Otherland:

Meanwhile, in the late 21st century, technology has advanced so that the internet has become a vast Virtual Reality network. The most realistic connections to the network are achieved by using an expensive, surgically implanted bio-port interface at the back of the user's neck called a 'Neurocannula'.

However, around the world, children are falling victim to a disease known as Tandagore Syndrome, which in its most serious form is a deep coma from which the patient cannot wake.

Irene "Renie" Sulaweyo, an instructor in "virtual engineering" at a polytechnic institute in Durban, is devastated when her younger brother, Stephen, falls victim to this disease.

  • 1
    You should describe how this story matches what the OP described. I'm pretty sure that Renie's backstory does not match the OP's story and I don't remember any of the other characters' stories matching it either. I may have forgotten another backstory that's a better match, since it's been a long time since I read Otherland, but your answer does not mention any. May 10, 2016 at 16:11

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