I really enjoyed this book, and I think it's definitely worth considering if you're interested in how stories can be told in video games. I've bought plenty of books about video game design and storytelling. (I'm a programmer who's been making video games professionally for about 10 years -- I wish more people would include their personalbackground in their book reviews...) Some books on game design are written by people who obviously have more "static media" backgrounds like books or movies, and don't understand the fundamental problem of making a story in a situation where the audience has freedom to do what they want. Another problem that a lot of people don't understand is that people playing a video game don't necessarily WANT a story, in the sense that they are playing a video game because of the interactivity, and not to watch a 10 minute cutscene to learn some back story. If they wanted to watch a movie they'd pop in a DVD.
I think the author really understands these difficulties. You want to make an emmersive worl, but you need to do it very quickly. So he talks about dialog, and how to convey as much information as possible in as few words as possible. He talks about how to get the player to sympathize with a chaacter, from the situation that characetr is in, to the design of the character art, to the words that the character says. All of the information is very practical, not like some books that leave you with a bunch of high-level nonsense that doesn't work in a real game. I really appreciated that he wasn't one of these "video games are mindless because they don't tell a story" type of guys. Or acting as if video games need to learn how to tell a story in order to "grow up" like movies or TV have. In a straight up action game or fighter, you don't need as much of a story as you do in a more adventure game. Playing a video game is a just a different experience, and the story has a different role, it's NOT the holy grail like some people think. Rather than trying to tell you how to convert video games into novels, he describe ways that you can inject story without taking away from the inetraction. I think he makes a good case that in almost any game, you can introduce just a bit of characetr depth and relationships, without stopping for a ten minute cutscene, and it adds value to the game.
This author's background was originally in TV, but he also has considerable experience in video games. I felt like he has a good background to be writing the book, and was speaking from experience.
The only negative comment about the book is that I found several of the chapters to be very similar. Like you'd be reading a chapter, and you'd think, "Hey, didn't I just read this exact same thing a few chapters ago?" Actually, you didn't, this chapter is covering a very slightly different topic. In other words, I think he could have consolidated a few chapters, which would have saved me some time. I suppose this makes it easier to jump around, since you don't rely on information from previous chapters. But I found it a little repetitive.
All in all, a really good book for anybody interested in video game design or storytelling in general.