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7 Reviews
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10 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ludic and Lucid
I picked this book up through a series of highly fortunate events, and have not regretted in the least the purchase. I agree in part with another reviewer who said that you have to read the book at least twice to understand it: That is not a down side to the book at all.

Wark's understanding of what gaming can and should be is wonderfully expressed. The ideas...
Published on March 29, 2009 by S. Dowdle

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30 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Abstract, meandering, out of touch
This book is light on both theory and gaming. There are plenty of references TO theory, and Wark has the nebulously elliptical "the-form-is-the-content" style down pretty pat, but being an avid gamer of 20+ years and a working background in English theory did not prepare me for this book. I'm not sure what would, really. It's not really worth anyone's time to go into the...
Published on January 7, 2011 by kyle karthauser


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30 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Abstract, meandering, out of touch, January 7, 2011
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This review is from: Gamer Theory (Hardcover)
This book is light on both theory and gaming. There are plenty of references TO theory, and Wark has the nebulously elliptical "the-form-is-the-content" style down pretty pat, but being an avid gamer of 20+ years and a working background in English theory did not prepare me for this book. I'm not sure what would, really. It's not really worth anyone's time to go into the book in-depth, but here are the most puzzling/frustrating aspects of the book:

Wark speaks of a "military entertainment complex" behind the ever expanding reach of video gaming in mainstream culture. He either actually believes this, or uses this phrase in the casually aloof post-structuralist fashion of (I assume) his idols. While the US Army has put out a few games in the last decade, conflating the "military industrial complex" with the video game industry (and its concurrent effect on pop culture) is laziness bordering on absurdity.

Sentences such as: "If history is an endless list of things that should not have happened, boredom is what refuses not to happen," "What the game highlights is a logistics of targeting, an economy of order against time--the battle of alternating between merger with, and separation from, the other," and "The realm of the not-game is the domain in which the gamer cannot act as a gamer."

There are plenty of charts and "illustrations" Wark cobbles together to make his point clearer. These aren't to be missed.

If you're interested in theory and how it can appear to sound as though it applies to a topic, read this book. If you're interested in video games and/or constructive uses of theory, don't.
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10 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ludic and Lucid, March 29, 2009
This review is from: Gamer Theory (Hardcover)
I picked this book up through a series of highly fortunate events, and have not regretted in the least the purchase. I agree in part with another reviewer who said that you have to read the book at least twice to understand it: That is not a down side to the book at all.

Wark's understanding of what gaming can and should be is wonderfully expressed. The ideas are complex, accessible, and continuously thought-provoking. I shared excerpts and themes from it to my high school video game class, and though they didn't catch everything, they understood a lot. I wish there were more than just five stars I could give to this book.

It should be noted, however, that there is definitely a lot of theory in this book (which makes sense, given the title). It requires thought to go along with it--just like any good game.
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2 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gamer Theory, June 18, 2008
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This review is from: Gamer Theory (Hardcover)
It was very good book that kept me reading through every chapter with every intent being to finish it. It's a quick read and I loved not only it's game references but also the other pop culture references that it brings up with simplicity. It had simplicity in it's complexity. The only bad thing I can think of is that it's hard to truly understand unless if you have read it at least twice.
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4 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gamer Theory Class, June 27, 2008
This review is from: Gamer Theory (Hardcover)
I am working on a gamer theory class at the university i work for and this book is simple awesome, funny, insightful and very educative. I think this book is one of the most imppresive philosphical analysis of games. I luv it!
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1 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prescient, August 30, 2010
This review is from: Gamer Theory (Hardcover)
Wark is a skilled dissector of popular culture. His investigation, clear-sighted yet revelatory, is destined to be a classic of an emerging critical landscape.
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5 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Philosophical wanking, October 16, 2011
This review is from: Gamer Theory (Hardcover)
I had high hopes for this book the subject matter looked so promising. Even the first chapter appealed to me but after reading the whole book a few things occurred to me:
1. This book could have been written in 30 pages or less as opposed to 240 pages.
2. The author misses the most obvious thing about video games: that they are games! Or at the very least a form of escapism.
3. The author has never actually played a video game in his life.

I mean this book just screams "Look how smart I think I am!", the points are muddled and eventually lead to nowhere. Overall skip this book it's a waste of your time.
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10 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars They killed trees for this?, January 18, 2010
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This review is from: Gamer Theory (Hardcover)
Over-intellectualized, sophomoric drivel. A sad commentary on the state of what passes for scholastic and academic thought in contemporary America.
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Gamer Theory
Gamer Theory by McKenzie Wark (Hardcover - April 30, 2007)
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