Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
on 2 September 2010
I Love Videogames.
Because of this I read a lot of news on a website called IGN.
Because of this I became aware of, and read articles authored by, Michael Thomsen. He wrote articles about games that made me think beyond my blind love of them, they made me expect more from them, they frustrated me because they pointed out the obvious flaws that had only previously existed only in my subconscious during gameplay.
Michael Thomsen did an interview with author Tom Bissell who wrote a book called Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter. This book simultaneously recited my hopes for gaming as a medium, as well as lamenting how pathetic most videogame's attempts at narrative were and continue to be. It shared my most personal emotional experiences with games and gave me insight into some of the industry's visionaries.
Tom Bissell wrote about people like Jonathan Blow (Braid), and Clint Hocking (Splinter Cell/Chaos Theory, Far Cry 2), Leigh Alexander, Michael Abbot, who wrote or talked about games in such interesting ways, taking game critique to analytical levels that I'd previously only experienced in media theory.
I have since played the masterpiece that is Braid. I don't want to talk about it. I just want people to go and experience it for themselves, give it their time, and their thought.
I have played Far Cry 2, found the experience unpleasant, I persevered, grew accustomed to the awful things it asks the player to do, and then finally realised: thats the point! Its an FPS, its about shooting people in a war torn african country as a mercenary with malaria, you should feel like a bastard until you become an unfeeling monster. What else should you expect from a game were the play revolves around the single most violent and disturbing act a human can commit against other humans. Murder. Far Cry 2 is an important game because it goes so far beyond "its just a game", and "games should be fun", that it makes a point about the human condition through its gameplay. How many games do you know that do that?
This book introduced me to these industry visionaries and games whilst putting them into the context of the author's life and his experiences with them. Its an extraordinary, and important book.