Friday, July 9, 2010

Let's Go to the Video

I've never been a big gamer. Part of it was that I never had a video game console growing up. I did have friends with them, of course, and spent a lot of time playing Atari at their houses. At college, I had friends with game systems as well, so I got more exposure. Years ago my wife and I bought a Super Nintendo and kept it for a while but eventually gave it to some nephews because we felt a little embarrassed about it. We our son was old enough, we bought a Nintendo Game Cube and enjoyed playing. My son has become a real gamer and has a wall of systems in his room. I play from time to time but not as much as I tell myself I want to. I'm just more wired into other forms of entertainment, I guess, and playing video games detracts from time spent with those.

Over the past few days, I've been reading Tom Bissell's new book, Extra Lives. In it, he makes a case for video games as an art form and why they matter. He talks about problems inherent with narrative and ways that some games have tried to work around that issue. He talks to people who spend their time thinking about games and designing games. He writes about the games that have captured his interest and time in such a way that makes me want to track all those games down and start playing.

It is a very interesting book and worth a read even if you aren't a hardcore gamer like me.

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