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Game Boys: Professional Videogaming's Rise from the Basement to the Big Time Hardcover – June 19, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (June 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670018961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670018963
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,616,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Readers of a certain generation are surely thinking, video games hit the big time? Get serious. But their children or grandchildren know what the author is talking about. Today’s video games can be as exciting as movies; they can require as much skill as more traditional sports; and they are very big business. The author follows two video-gaming teams, Team 3D and CompLexity, as they battle for supremacy in the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL), which was formed in 1997. For a sport that many consider to be marginal (if a sport at all), gaming is highly competitive and full of players who are just as idiosyncratic, determined, and flashy as any other pro athlete. Kane does a nice job of catching us up in the excitement—no easy task, as we are reading a book about people who play a game on a computer screen. Like any good sports book, this one is about the game and the personalities in equal measure. --David Pitt

Review

From Booklist:
Readers of a certain generation are surely thinking, video games hit the big time? Get serious. But their children or grandchildren know what the author is talking about. Today’s video games can be as exciting as movies; they can require as much skill as more traditional sports; and they are very big business. The author follows two video-gaming teams, Team 3D and CompLexity, as they battle for supremacy in the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL), which was formed in 1997. For a sport that many consider to be marginal (if a sport at all), gaming is highly competitive and full of players who are just as idiosyncratic, determined, and flashy as any other pro athlete. Kane does a nice job of catching us up in the excitement—no easy task, as we are reading a book about people who play a game on a computer screen. Like any good sports book, this one is about the game and the personalities in equal measure.

Game Boys made me actually want to sit down and watch people play video games against each other. And cheer. And boo. I can't think of a stronger endorsement than that.”
-Will Leitch, author of God Save The Fan and editor of Deadspin.com.

“As someone who never was able to quite handle the leap from Pac-Man to Ms. Pac- Man, I am indebted to Michael Kane for writing Game Boys and explaining how far video gaming has come in the years since . . . and just how far it might go. He'll be the first person I consult when I'm assigned to cover the World Series of Counter-Strike.”
- Jim Caple, ESPN.com senior writer and author of The Devil Wears Pinstripes

"Competitive videogaming is ready for prime time. In this excellent book, Michael Kane masterfully draws on the emotion, excitement and backstage drama that helped e- sports hit the major leagues. Whether you play video games or not, Kane will convince you they could be the main event of the 21st century. A fascinating read."
-Matt Mason, author of The Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture is Reinventing Capitalism

Game Boys is a fascinating, rail-gun ride through the world of competitive gaming. With electric prose and engaging authority, Kane skillfully captures all the drama, angst and geekery that drove a niche of passionate gamers to forge a subculture, command the respect of corporations and claw their way into the big time.”
-Aaron Ruby, co-author of Smartbomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment, and Big Bucks in the Videogame Revolution --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Ry on June 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Michael Kane's "Game Boys: Professional Videogaming's Rise from the Basement to the Big Time" is a complete page-turner for both gamers and non-gamers alike. Considering that this is the first and only book to ever chronicle the evolution of "elite e-sports", I started reading this book with an open mind. I have to admit that I was apprehensive when I started the book since, how will the author connect the reader to the unknown world of e-sports? The terms are as intricate and technical to explain to a person who might not be a part of the Counter-Strike phenomenon. Kane has not only managed to use the most creative analogies (bringing laughter to some of them), but he illustrates the stories in such a way that it felt like everyone was or can be a part of the inherent rivalries, the drama, the secrets and the action that lies within watching an elite Counter-Strike match. What makes this book so unique, was that as a former girl gamer from 2003 to 2005, I had followed the rise of the e-sports scene and had ran across the people that Kane highlights in this book, either through the internet or through watching these matches at home. What I did not know about these individuals were their lives outside of Counter-Strike and what it took for each of them to get to where they are today. Kane brings to you every team's successes and failures, while adding flair to what goes on when the cameras are off. The struggle to bring the gamers subculture out to the mainstream was a challenge, where gamers tend to face the fine line between choosing to play for pleasure or to play strictly for business. I send my praises for entertaining while educating the public of the world that once reached a momentum for gamers, I recommend this book for anyone who ever took part of the gaming community, plan to take part or are just curious to understand this growing 11 billion-dollar industry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C.D. on August 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As a teenager and gamer involved in the very e-sports scene Kane so accurately describes, I've come across many books that have attempted to describe gaming, gamers, and the elements surrounding the scene, but never have truly grasped the passion that so many competitive gamers have felt towards the community that has been created around these games.

I started reading this book with reservations...I expected this to be another "oh yeah, some guy thinks it's cool," type of approach that would miss the mark on the intensity and seriousness that teenagers and younger adults were taking these games...these e-sports.

After completing the final chapter today, I'm so enthused to say that Kane has put to words what no one, to date, had been able to. From the coach/jock-like description of Jason Lake, to the journalistic rumors of Levine's business practices, Michael Kane has captured many aspects of the gaming community that, until now, I thought would take years to be written down as a part of history.

The truth is, if you're involved in the e-sports scene, inspired by the younger generation's choice of competition, or simply a parent of a gamer, this book is for you. Your jaw will be dropped at how far gaming has come, and how immense, intense, and elaborate the gaming community has become, not only in size, but in personality and every aspect that could define a competitive sport!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. Quiring on June 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Games Boys: Professional Videogaming's Rise from the Basement to the Big Time by Michael Kane is the best inside look at the competitive videogaming industry I have read to date. He peels back the layers of this very complex subculture and lays it all out there for anyone to read - from the gamers themselves to the parents who try to understand. Game Boys has it all - the celebratory victories, the heartbreaking losses, the passion of its supports and accompanies it all with backroom dirty laundry. This book is an informative, exciting read. Author Michael Kane has managed to translate the excitement of competition into his words, and sometimes I found myself reading faster through the competition gameplay to get to the moment of victory - even though I already knew the results of many of the matches he wrote about.

As a participant full of passion for the videogame industry, there were so many times I found myself identifying with CompLexity GM Jason Lake and harbouring feelings of resentment towards Craig Levine. Like Jason Lake, I believe in the grassroots foundation of this wonderful industry, and even though Craig Levine has done much to get competitive videogaming out there into the main stream of today's world, I often felt that Levine's tactics were less than honourable, and I am of the generation when honour was at the forefront of how you conducted your life. These are elements which make for a great book - eliciting emotion and appreciation from the reader, making the reader care about the characters in the story.

Michael Kane has artfully included every aspect of our advancing technological world - global friendships and rivalries, heroes and villains, supportive families and families who feel the gamer is wasting his or her time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Solomon on July 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Game Boys is like Remember the Titans but for Counter-Strike. M Kane's background is in sports writing and that is to the advantage of the book. I could feel my heart pounding as he described the matches. I found myself covering the page with my hand so as not to spoil the outcome.

This game is not meant for gamers. In fact is is exactly the opposite. This book is for people on the periphery who are sports fans, not gamers. It makes competitive gaming into competitive sports.
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