May 22, 2012

Extra Lives, by Tom Bissell

The best thing about this book, subtitled "Why Video Games Matter," is that it does a "close reading" of some of the biggest video games of the last few years. Much like a critic analyzing a sonnet, Bissell asks of each game  "Why does this work?" (or not). It turns out that video games have the same narrative challenges of any work of literature or film:  pacing, character, internal consistency (or the illusion thereof), transitions, mood, landscape. And it adds the components of sports: too easy and it's boring; too hard and it's no fun.

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