Trigger Happy, Steven Poole's substantial examination of the world inside your console, combines an exhaustive history of the games industry with a more subtle look at what makes certain kinds of games more engaging than others. For example, what works in which genres--the RPG (role-playing game) versus the god game--and the relationship of video games to other forms of media.
A writer and composer, Poole makes the case that video games--like films and popular music--deserve serious critical treatment. "The inner life of video games--how they work--is bound up with the inner life of the player. And the player's response to a well-designed video game is in part the same sort of response he or she has to a film, or to a painting: it is an aesthetic one". Trigger Happy is packed with references not just to games and game history but to writers and theorists who may never have played a video game in their lives, from Adorno and Benjamin to Plato. At times this approach verges on the pedantic, dwelling at length on points that will seem obvious to serious gamers ("We don't want absolutely real situations in video games. We can get that at home"; "The fighting game, like fighting itself, will always be popular"). Nonetheless, Poole's book may be favoured bedside reading for both the keen gamer and the armchair philosopher looking to understand this cultural phenomenon. --Liz Bailey
'A bright and beautiful writer . . . almost certainly the best book that could be written about videogames' -- Tony Parsons, Literary Review
'A critical contribution to our understanding of a still growing entertainment phenomenon which just won't go away . . . Essential reading.' -- The Guardian
'A delightful and insightful romp across pastures largely unexplored . . . Poole never loses sight of the job at hand, which is not simply a defence of videogames but an argument for their inner life.' -- Evening Standard
'A witty, erudite treat.' -- Select
'Finally, there's a book that really gets to the heart of the videogame experience . . . Steven Poole knows his stuff. He's succeeded in writing an excellent "aesthetic history" of videogames which is academically worthy, thoroughly contemporary and eminently readable.' -- ***** Arcade
X'More than a timely reminisce over games history, Trigger Happy is a critical look at the creative achievements in games and the experiences they offer. . . It is perhaps the first serious attempt to understand just what makes some games great . . . A seminal piece of work.' -- Edge
This book is aimed at those interested in a basic history of videogames up until the Playstation 2 era. Read morePublished on 27 Oct. 2011 by Mr. T. D. Ash
This book is an excellent reader for those doing subjects such as media and cultural studies. It helps to explain various theories and concepts in relation to video games. Read morePublished on 1 Oct. 2002 by "u9803197"
Bought this after reading an excellent article he wrote about Tomb Raider. However, the book doesn't live up to that. Interesting in parts, e.g. Read morePublished on 11 July 2002
As both a videogamer and a student of media and culture I would highly recommend this book. The games industry needs more books discussing the theoretical side of things. Read morePublished on 4 Dec. 2001 by "rowleys1"
...Poole builds up a brilliant cultural framework through constant reference to thinkers from Plato through to Charles Peirce, Walter Benjamin and Wittgenstein.... Read morePublished on 5 April 2001
Its clear from reading this book that Poole has attempted in a desperate fashion to 'theorise' the videogame; difficult to do when you have been located outside the medium for 15... Read morePublished on 1 April 2001 by M. Taylor
If all you want is a simple history of video games, this is not your book. Try Steven L Kent's The First Quarter or Leonard Herman's Phoenix. Read morePublished on 3 Mar. 2001
Nice idea, and for nostalgic value, it's not a bad read, but far too many subjective judgements are made 'type x of game is boring' etc. Read morePublished on 2 Feb. 2001
Steven Poole makes things clear to the world on the essence of videogames and in doing so he backs up gamers' arguments, that videogames should be seriously investigated, with... Read morePublished on 18 Jan. 2001 by adrienne