I bought this book after seeing the reader reviews here & i thought wow, at least it arouse some strong passions. Having read it, I can say that it just is the best book about gaming out there. I have been in the games industry myself for ten years & found it very refreshing to see video games from a wider cultural angle. Sure I don't agree with a lot of it. For instance, I love games like SimCity and Stephen Poole says he finds them boring. Fair enough, but then he makes some interesting points about them anyway (they're "process toys" and offer the chance to play with time, as well as having subterannean political points buried in them). And the demolition of "interactive storytelling" and the touted convergence of games with films are wonders of clear and tightly constructed argument. Pretentious? No; just a new, and very interesting, point of view.