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This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities [Kindle Edition]

Jim Rossignol
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"In May 2000 I was fired from my job as a reporter on a finance newsletter because of an obsession with a video game.

It was the best thing that ever happened to me.�

So begins this story of personal redemption through the unlikely medium of electronic games. Quake, World of Warcraft, Eve Online, and other online games not only offered author Jim Rossignol an excellent escape from the tedium of office life. They also provided him with a diverse global community and a job”as a games journalist.

Part personal history, part travel narrative, part philosophical reflection on the meaning of play, This Gaming Life describes Rossignol's encounters in three cities: London, Seoul, and Reykjavik. From his days as a Quake genius in London's increasingly corporate gaming culture; to Korea, where gaming is a high-stakes televised national sport; to Iceland, the home of his ultimate obsession, the idiosyncratic and beguiling Eve Online, Rossignol introduces us to a vivid and largely undocumented world of gaming lives.

Torn between unabashed optimism about the future of games and lingering doubts about whether they are just a waste of time, This Gaming Life also raises important questions about this new and vital cultural form. Should we celebrate the “serious� educational, social, and cultural value of games, as academics and journalists are beginning to do? Or do these high-minded justifications simply perpetuate the stereotype of games as a lesser form of fun? In this beautifully written, richly detailed, and inspiring book, Rossignol brings these abstract questions to life, immersing us in a vibrant landscape of gaming experiences.

“We need more writers like Jim Rossignol, writers who are intimately familiar with gaming, conversant in the latest research surrounding games, and able to write cogently and interestingly about the experience of playing as well as the deeper significance of games.�
”Chris Baker, Wired

“This Gaming Life is a fascinating and eye-opening look into the real human impact of gaming culture. Traveling the globe and drawing anecdotes from many walks of life, Rossignol takes us beyond the media hype and into the lives of real people whose lives have been changed by gaming. The results may surprise you.�
”Raph Koster, game designer and author of A Theory of Fun for Game Design

“Is obsessive video gaming a character flaw? In This Gaming Life, Jim Rossignol answers with an emphatic"no,' and offers a passionate and engaging defense of what is too often considered a"bad habit' or"guilty pleasure.'�
”Joshua Davis, author of The Underdog

“This is a wonderfully literate look at gaming cultures, which you don't have to be a gamer to enjoy. The Korea section blew my mind.�
”John Seabrook, New Yorker staff writer and author of Flash of Genius and Other True Stories of Invention

digitalculturebooks is an imprint of the University of Michigan Press and the Scholarly Publishing Office of the University of Michigan Library dedicated to publishing innovative and accessible work exploring new media and their impact on society, culture, and scholarly communication.

Editorial Reviews


"We need more writers like Jim Rossignol, writers who are intimately familiar with gaming, conversant in the latest research surrounding games, and able to write cogently and interestingly about the experience of playing as well as the deeper significance of games."
---Chris Baker, Wired

Product Details

  • File Size: 370 KB
  • Print Length: 175 pages
  • Publisher: The University of Michigan Press (April 20, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003IKN1XW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,323,018 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars PC Gaming and its Cultural Context July 12, 2008
This book is a basic overview of different aspects of gaming. It discusses some cultural differences in the way Westerners game vs. those from the East (with the possible general exception of Japan). It is interesting to note the difference not only in game style preferences, but the way gamers are perceived in Western vs. South Korean culture, specifically.

The author also examines what he calls emergent gaming. These are methods of gaming and actions within the game that the designers did not anticipate. He goes on, at length, about the evolution of EVE Online and how it is the players that have largely driven that change rather than developers. He also waxes philosophical when it comes to what games mean in a larger context. Are games merely a waste of time and energy better spent on other endeavors or do they ultimately represent something else? This discussion is not very deep, but he does give reference to some other works that delve deeper into this debate.

Besides the few annoying grammatical errors, the tone is kept fairly light, yet you can tell Jim Rossignol is passionate about his current chosen focus in life. There is some good information here, but it really is best for someone who is looking for a PC-gaming biased overview of what gaming has been, is in its current state, and could possibly be. Console gaming is touched upon, but not discussed in any great detail. Those looking for minute detail and insights into the gaming industry won't find them here. But he does point the way to others who discuss his more philosophical points at length. This Gaming Life is certainly worth a read if you're interested in gaming no matter what level you wish to explore, unless you've already delved into this field.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Look At The Gaming Culture June 17, 2009
There is much about this book which I liked, particularly the fairly in-depth look at the Korean gaming culture and how it differs from that in the west. It was also interesting to read about the political movements within games and how they have been used as protest platforms. I feel that as a person who is both a gamer and a person who works in the gaming industry, This Gaming Life brings to light many of the reasons why people play video games - for the challenges, social experiences or to simply escape the stresses of every day life. One of the other reasons given by the author is that gamers game to stave off boredom.

Jim Rossignol raises some very valid points on how the activity of playing video games has grown to become a central part of today's culture, such as the social components in today's games and the scientific studies being conducted to better understand the effect of video games on the human countenance. He examines at length the pros and cons of becoming engrossed in games, as well as some of the educational aspects. Topics also covered are the varying levels of importance some game development studios put on gamer interaction with development through gamer-made mods or playing the game in ways not expected by the developers. This is something which I have heard discussed at many game development conferences - that gamers will always find some way to play the game that was outside of the project vision.

The one aspect of this book which I didn't enjoy was the amount of time spent discussing the game play and player experience in EVE Online. In some ways I felt that due to this, the book became more about EVE than about the lives of gamers on a whole. While the book is meant to speak about Mr.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book September 15, 2010
By theman
I'm a gamer and I found this to be a unique global view on gaming and its culture from a very good writer. Sure, not for everyone, but for gamers that like to read, I'd say this is one of the best books out there.
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