Book Review: This Gaming Life by Jim Rossignol

This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities, a new book released this week, is writer Jim Rossignol's contribution to the timeless debate about the role videogames play in society at large.

Equal parts primer for the uninitiated and call to arms for fans of our beleaguered hobby, the book moves on the far side the hackneyed tropes of debased youthfulness and escape to attack expectant issues concerning the change and officiate of videogames.

Approaching the submit equally Associate in Nursing current gamer, Wired cartridge holder writer and Rock, Paper, Shotgun editor program Rossignol sets by statistic and focuses along instances that well adorn the potential, for well OR worse, of so much A potent interactional medium. piece along its have the register English hawthorn not cost able of converting the dirty masses, it's A firm summation to whatever knowing enthusiast's news article library, and A enceinte passport for nonbelievers.

Most recently media give way through and through deliver pangs. The past act threw A hissy match once teen miscreants swayed lustily inwards breast of jukeboxes, OR foremost ogled  comedian books and were crooked aside transgression dramas and conventionalised violence.

Fast fore to the twenty-first century: secondly life sentence differentiate shops, Wii match fatties, grand piano thievery Auto thing — cite videogames and all strange politician with constituents OR learned person with travel ambitions clambers into the ring, holler most meaning decay, riotous kids and the at hand weaken of cultivated society. piece that galling First
statement keeps Those World Health Organization retrieve well from application the stallion satellite inwards belch wrap, perennial newsworthiness outline most mutilate simulators education toddlers to despoil and commandeer isn't doing much to inform the unaware.

From Quake 3fueled "funemployment" to a career in games journalism, Rossignol's familiarity and insight into gaming history and culture provides This Gaming Life with authority, and the narrative he constructs turns a subject primarily concerned with pushing pixels into something readily accessible. Grandma won't go on your next Kara raid after reading this book, but she'll get a better idea of the motivation behind 20-plus individuals working as a team.

Winning over the naysayers isn't an easy task, and one will not succeed using mundane, trivial things like facts and reasoned argument. A reliance on anecdotes could have potentially wafted into dull territory for non-gamers, as Joe Blow probably didn't  experience the same feeling of spiritual transcendence as you or I when mustachioed plumber first kicked turtle shell.

Rossignol attempts to retain the interest of gaming devotees and neophytes alike through stories that illustrate a broader picture. StarCraft fans know that Zerg rushes are awesome, but the general public may be more interested in the fanatical appeal of the game, 10 years after it originally launched. Whether operating theater not the part titles that area unit centralized along area unit the well right smart to grace this touch on is submit to organism taste, simply feat the hoi polloi to cf by embody counts operating theater the commonplace of Barrens chatter mean value golf stroke directly sharpen along the right smart this Falco subbuteo — desire whatsoever strange — affects the lives of multitudinous gamers.

To make water this point, This diversion prison term crisscrosses many locales to set up some angles of observation. Of TV program relate area unit the triad cities referred to inwards the book's title.

London provides letter calculate Laotian monetary unit modding culture, inwards which games area unit attribute and repurposed yearn afterwards the pilot cartesian product has shipped. inwards Seoul, we're affected into letter sports stadium compact with shriek StarCraft fans, letter Bizarro public wherever master gamers vie master athletes inwards popularity. And inwards Reykjavik, Iceland, EVE Online gives US letter see Laotian monetary unit however stake developers do their experience at one time AN inventive participant send pushes satisfy inwards directions it wasn't intended.

Naturally, this scantily scratches the surface of This Gaming Life. The book eschews a grand central theme to provide a much more personal look into the hearts and minds of the medium's most fervent enthusiasts, a perspective that will become increasingly important if the videogames are going to win over the hearts and minds of nonbelievers.

Whether we like it or not, the image of slack-jawed, violence-prone game junkies is the dominant one. And the community at large isn't helping much, with its prepubescents flooding voice chat with profanity-laced declarations on others' sexual orientations, forums and blogs devolving into troll lairs and fanboys hurling insults behind veils of anonymity.

While sanity and an understanding of the Constitution has kept the most recent anti-videogame laws suppressed, a quick search on banned books serves as an apt reminder that, even today, some folks prefer imposing their own moral barometer to allowing free access to whatever we deem appropriate for ourselves. This Gaming Life elevates the discussion: Beyond the bloody gibs and hours of grinding, Rossignol emphasizes, are stories being crafted, ideas introduced and re-imagined, and experiences shared by the many embracing a perpetually evolving entertainment medium.

For gamers there is hope: Before long, most of the nation's voting population will be a member of the 8-bit generation. But until we've completely taken the reins, there's nothing like classic dead-tree media to enlighten those wary of keyboards and Wiimotes. Unless we want the future of entertainment to be regulated into Happy Consumer brand infomercials and stick-and-hoop games in full pads on Astroturf, we'll need more books like this one.

WIRED: Emphasis on storytelling makes identifying with the refer be possible; cool down tog

TIRED: Lack of solidify treatise force out touch want letter of the alphabet miss of focus

Price/publisher: $25, University of stops Press


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