Download PDF by Tom Bissell: Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter

By Tom Bissell

Tom Bissell is a prizewinning author who released 3 commonly acclaimed books earlier than the age of thirty-four. he's additionally an obsessive gamer who has spent untold hours in entrance of his quite a few game consoles, taking part in titles reminiscent of Far Cry 2, Left four lifeless, BioShock, and Oblivion for, actually, days. when you are examining this flap reproduction, an analogous factor can most likely be acknowledged of you, or of somebody you know.
 
Until lately, Bissell used to be a bit of reluctant to confess to his ardour for video games. during this, he's not on my own. thousands of adults spend hours per week taking part in games, and the itself now reliably outearns Hollywood. however the wider tradition turns out to treat games as, at most sensible, good designed if senseless entertainment.
 
Extra Lives is an impassioned protection of this assailed and misunderstood paintings shape. Bissell argues that we're in a golden age of gaming—but he additionally believes video games may be even greater. He bargains a desirable and infrequently hilarious critique of the methods games dazzle and, simply as usually, frustrate. alongside the best way, we get firsthand photos of a few of the simplest minds (Jonathan Blow, Clint Hocking, Cliff Bleszinski, Peter Molyneux) at paintings in game layout at the present time, in addition to a shattering and deeply relocating ultimate bankruptcy that describes, in searing element, Bissell’s descent into the realm of Grand robbery car IV, a video game whose topics replicate his personal more and more self-destructive compulsions.
 
Blending memoir, feedback, and high-quality reportage, Extra Lives is like no different ebook at the topic ever released. even if you're keen on games, detest games, or are simply desirous about why they're changing into the dominant well known artwork type of our time, Extra Lives is needed interpreting.

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Moreover, its focus falls heavily upon console games (as opposed to personal computer games) released in the last few years, most of which are amply budgeted “story” or “narrative” games, which may displease some readers. From this, no one should assume I am not fond of older games or that I do not play sports games, rhythm games, strategy games, puzzlers, or the like. I am and I do, and moreover will take on any comers willing to challenge me to expert-level drumming in Rock Band or Guitar Hero (unless you happen to go by the gamertag Johny Red Pants, in which case, I bow to you, fair sir).

Games often provide an approximation of this feeling, with the difference that you can find out what is out there. Teeming with secrets, hidden areas, and surprises that may pounce only on the second or third (or fourth) play-through—I still laugh to think of the time I made it to an isolated, hard-to-find corner of Fallout 3’s Wasteland and was greeted by the words FUCK YOU spray-painted on a rock—video games favor a form of storytelling that is, in many ways, completely unprecedented. The conventions of this form of storytelling are only a few decades old and were created in a formal vacuum by men and women who still walk among us.

But the success of the first Resident Evil established the permissibility of a great game that happened to be stupid. This set the tone for half a decade of savagely unintelligent games and helped to create an unnecessary hostility between the greatness of a game and the sophistication of things such as narrative, dialogue, dramatic motivation, and characterization. In accounting for this state of affairs, many game designers have, over the years, claimed that gamers do not much think about such highfaluting matters.

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