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Extra Lives - Why Video Games Matter (Yes, It is A Book)

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DirtyLarry    2,097

book_extra.jpg

So okay, I was not sure if I should even post this, but I honestly think that anyone who is a gamer and that likes to read, even just a little (I read a whole lot myself) should absolutely 110% read this book. I am about half way through it and I very well may be done with it tonight. It is an incredibly smooth read, an entertaining read, and it just really is without a doubt worth reading if you are interested in games at all.

Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter is written by Tom Bissel who is, according to the inside sleeve, a "prize winning author who published three widely acclaimed books before the age of thirty four." Dude is a legit author, and he is a damn fine one at that. I really like his writing style, it is witty and incredibly entertaining.

Perhaps I relate so much to this book as me and him are the same age, and me and him both actually think the same overall thing, and that is that story telling in video games lacks a whole lot, but for whatever reason they are undeniably are preferred method of entertainment, no matter how silly they may seem at times, I will continue to, and always will play, video games.

I took these two screen-shots below from Amazon's little quick book viewer thing on their website just to provide a quick idea of what the writing is like, so needless to say more info and a few more pages for your reading pleasure can be found at their site. Amazon Webpage For Book Here.

ExtraLives_Page01.JPG

ExtraLives_Page02.JPG

Finally here is this review I found for the book.

Bissell, a New Yorker contributor, does not approach video games from a cinematic or literary perspective. He tackles them from within, as a player, and much of Extra Lives' nine essays consist of his second-person in-game narratives. "You step forward, experimenting... Squeeze the left trigger," Bissell writes of Resident Evil, immersing the reader in the game. His literary walkthroughs could only come from a gamer. However, Bissell is a particular type of gamer: a first-person shooter enthusiast. He fetishizes the headshots of Fallout 3; he calls Grand Theft Auto IV, a first-person shooter not limited to shooting, "the most colossal creative achievement of the last twenty-five years." His preoccupation with shooters means that earlier games, among them Super Mario Brothers 3, are absent from Extra Lives, even though they would have shed light on the book's central concern: how an educated devotee of literary fiction could spend hundreds of hours in the hackneyed narratives of games. The answer is that games disavow narrative?they give a break from narrative?to create the conditions for ludonarrative, the story that the gamer creates as he or she plays the game. Thus, suggests media scholar Henry Jenkins in Dungeons and Dreamers, Brad King and John Borland's 2003 study, games are best interpreted not as films or novels but as dance.

Bissell only touches on these issues. He spends most of Extra Lives establishing his fractious, insular, and plaintively male voice. It's the voice of a person who likes first-person shooters. It's also the voice of our first video game critic.

So I really do recommend this book to everyone here. I am part of Borders Book Club and used a 40% off coupon so I purchased the hardcover book for $13, which since it is a new release it is only available in hardcover right now. But I am sure you can all find similar deals if you are interested in doing so.

For those truly against reading, there is an Audio Book available as well (which I almost did not share, cause everyone should read!)

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Yusuf M.    1,367

Interesting. I'll check it out the next time I'm at my local book store.

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DirtyLarry    2,097

Interesting. I'll check it out the next time I'm at my local book store.

(Y) I cannot stress enough how much I truly believe it is good idea to do so. If you are a person who reads on occasion, you can read the book in just a few settings, and it is a good entertaining read for sure, at least in my opinion.

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LingeringSoul    11

I'm glad that you decided to post this in the end. I'm always happy to see video games discussed in an open-minded manner in any medium. It's a refreshing change from the typical "games are making people dumb!!!111" lectures that we're so used to seeing in mainstream media, even to this day.

I've been trying to read a lot more lately (trying to squeeze in some time every day for curling up with a book), so I will definitely add this to my list. Thanks for the suggestion :).

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NikkiRox    2

Awesome! I think I will indeed buy this book if I see it. It looks like a great read.

Thanks for the recommendation :D

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DirtyLarry    2,097

No problem at all to the both of you. (Y)

I would be interested to hear your feedback. I am almost down with the book myself, just one chapter left.

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name in use    8

Next time I go to Barnes and Noble, I am picking this up :)

Thanks for the post. +rep

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DirtyLarry    2,097

I actually just finished reading it. My only complaint would be it is a bit on the short side, but I also think that was probably done on purpose considering the target audience may not be the most avid readers known to man. :laugh: Well technically I still have to read appendix, but it is only like 20 pages.

It really is a pretty interesting read though. It is very much a self reflection on why the author plays games, but as a result he very much dissects what makes a successful story in video game and what does not. Being a writer, he expresses how more games than not make him cringe on the story side of things, so he then examines why this is, why games are so powerful not only for him but for everyone else as well, so I really do believe it is a really good read for any gamer who gaming happens to be their primary hobby.

Enjoy to those who do choose to read it. (Y)

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