Eight-Bit Bastards: Levels One and Two

Narrated by: Michael Norman Johnson
Length: 9 hrs and 47 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (48 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When you’ve maxed out your level, done every quest, and defeated every enemy, there’s not much left. So after seven centuries of immortality, Sean wants nothing more than to die. Afterall was touted as a paradise, an afterlife where anyone could pursue their interests, from archery to zookeeping. The gaming was the stuff of legend, but for Sean it had grown stale.

But when a woman from a past life informs him of a real, flesh-and-blood descendant that has hacked his way in, Sean finds a new purpose. The AI doesn’t take kindly to interlopers, and parks the intruder in the one realm so buggy that even the oldest, most powerful denizens of Afterall steer clear of it - the Bitrealm.

Sean must enter a land created for the original gamers, people like him who cut their teeth on some of the first video games released to the public. Will Sean brave the pixelated wilderness of Bitrealm to rescue his lost kin? Or will he fall victim to the force that has been making people vanish? One thing’s for certain, he can’t do it alone. He’s going to need a few members of his original guild.

He’s going to need some Eight-Bit Bastards.

Book Two:

Sean and the Bastards have entered the Bitrealm, and so far it hasn’t been all 1-Ups and treasure. They’ve tracked Pliny down to a castle in the mountains to the north, and they’ll need every bit of their skills, honed while playing some of the first and greatest video games, to survive its depths. But it won’t be easy. The castle soon takes its toll, separating the party and pitting them against some of the most dangerous creatures they’ve faced yet - creatures that may not be what they seem. Something has been tormenting the souls of Afterall, transforming them into shadows of their former selves. And with every twist and turn the castle throws at them, that something is getting closer. Add in a devious AI, a skeleton who’s watched too much TV, and more retro gaming goodness than you can shake a joystick at, and you have Eight-Bit Bastards.

©2019 Joshua Mason (P)2019 Spectrum Audiobooks

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A fun ride!

i drive for 10-11 hrs a day amd go through audio books like breathing. it can be difficult to find a book that keeps me as entertained as this one did. i look forward to more. thanks for the ride

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Entertaining and light read

I received a review copy of this book and wasn't provided any additional compensation.

That being said, this book was easy to listen to. I didn't have to give it a lot of focus. It's a pretty standard LitRPG romp with the twist of centuries having passed since the characters joined their online world. The new angle of exhaustion with a forever after was interesting, and the RP1 style obsession with 80s gaming nostalgia kept it interesting.

The narrator did a great job, there were scattered (appropriate) sound effects, and overall I would recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Fun and Interesting

A great take on the what if we could download our minds to a server and live forever. Made even better with an original idea and well crafted characters. This is a book written well then wnhanced by its chosen narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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exactly what i was hoping for

this hit every mark i was hoping for it to be. the story gives that nostalgic feel of old school gaming, while not over doing it. it's creative, and a very different feel than I've seen from litrpgs. characters were awesome, and that were executed well.

narration was awesome. voices were well done, and really brought it home with inner monologues without making it seem it was part of narration.

will definitely be looking forward to the next parts of this series.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

8-bit afterlife

new spin on the litrpg style. I really enjoyed this. alot of old game game jokes.. 8-bit jokes if you will.

the characters are developed well as well is the back story and environment. really like how the story progresses.

the narrator does a good job as well. well read. the music and background noises were well placed.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Inventive and fun

I’m not entirely sure what to say about this book. There were things I really liked. The writing was very professional and tidy. The plot (so far; we’re far from a resolution) is solid. But I still found myself getting bored at times; the first book seemed to lag a bit in the middle. The characters spent an an awfully long time doing things that did nothing to further the storyline.

On the upside, in addition to good writing...The author’s enthusiasm for video games and nerd culture is awesome. The bit realm is a lot of fun. The game mechanics are interesting. The bad guys are spooky and interesting.

Overall, the story wasn’t perfect, but I did really enjoy it. I’ll be looking for the next book(s), err, levels.

I received a free review copy of this book, and am voluntarily leaving the review. All opinions are my own.

1 person found this helpful

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4.5 Stars

Great Retro gaming LITRPG with some interesting takes on the genre. It is fast paced and worth a credit. Those of us that grew up with gaming in the 80's and 90's will appreciate the nostalgia. Characters are enjoyable and work well together. Narration was great with distinctions between voices, but there are sound effects that may be loud for headset users. I received this book for free for my honest review.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Must Listen If You Are a Retro Gamer

Book 1:

Very nostalgic book with lots of Easter eggs for those who grew up gaming. The most unique LITRPG I’ve ever read/listened to. 

The saga begins when an AI approaches Heather and tells her that a descendant of hers is trapped in an 8-Bit dungeon (sort of). She approaches Shawn to enlist his help and after recruiting two more people (Mark and Claudia) they proceed to enter the realm and have to level up. At one point they even have to grind to gain XP. 

If you grew up on NES, Sega and SNES you have got to get this book.

Michael Norman Johnson does a great job narrating. 

Book 2:

Friends become enemies in this book. Like the first it is divided into levels instead of chapters. 

The party finds Pliny but realize their quest has just begun. A bigger baddie is revealed.

Again loved the narration

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

1 person found this helpful

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Fan Freaking Tastic

I got this book for free but that has no bearing on my review. This book was excellent, the story, narration, and even the 8-biy sound effects were superb. Well done

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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8-bit Greatness

I loved all the references to the games that I grew up with. This was a great story and very well performed. I can't wait to hear what happens next.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nighteyes
  • 02-10-20

now this is how you do throw backs

this book keeps throwing memories at me and I'm loving it, because it's never the focus it just "happens to happen" while the plot trucks forward
impressive writing...

Michael does a great job, I could wish for his females being a little bit better, but that's nitpicking...
and whoever did the sound design needs to get a medal!
so on point

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-28-20

Really enjoyable easy listen

Pretty different to other litrpg books I’ve read or listened to. Firstly the narrator was great, clearly spoken, good range of voices and very expressive. Really interesting story, enjoyed all the characters, a fun and easy listen. Definitely recommend

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • MommaBear
  • 01-08-20

A Really good game story

I have read or tried to read a few books based in a game but never finished them as they just were so silly.

This one is so different. The characters are fleshed out enough to make you engage with them and the storyline is good.

You find yourself immersed in the world fully and are really caught up in it.

I had thought I would never read another of these books but as I was offered this book to listen to for free plus other positive reviews I thought I would request it and am glad I did.

I will definitely be purchasing the other books in the series..

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-04-20

It's a nice book

Definitely not Shakespeare's work but overall it's a nice fun book, containing an interesting idea about a world in 8 bit

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • C. Rowlands
  • 01-01-20

Fun and different take on the genre

Despite this being two books combined, the runtime does not seem very long at all with the author keeping the story moving along at a brisk pace with his interesting take on this genre, focusing on more retro games rather than the vrmmo-style of games that most authors obviously gravitate towards.

The group of heroes assembled by the main character are an interesting mix and those characters they meet along the way that are not being deliberately written as an 8-bit era npc also help to add depth to the story too, which has a lot more going on in the background than the initially simple premise that starts the adventure in the first place.

The narrator gives a good performance, a good range of distinctive voices for the main cast and he is aided by some suitably retro bits of game audio that add to the atmosphere without seeming too obtrusive.

Overall, an entertaining listen and a fun take on the litrpg genre.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]