Steven Poole's substantial examination of the world inside your console combines an exhaustive history of the games industry with a subtle look at what makes certain kinds of games more engaging than others. For example, what works in which genres--the RPG (role-playing game) versus the god game--and the relationship of video games to other forms of media.
A writer and composer, Poole makes the case that video games--like films and popular music--deserve serious critical treatment: "The inner life of video games--how they work--is bound up with the inner life of the player. And the player's response to a well-designed video game is in part the same sort of response he or she has to a film, or to a painting: it is an aesthetic one." Trigger Happy is packed with references not just to games and game history but also to writers and theorists who may never have played a video game in their lives, from Adorno and Benjamin to Plato. At times this approach verges on the pedantic, dwelling at length on points that will seem obvious to serious gamers ("We don't want absolutely real situations in video games. We can get that at home"; "The fighting game, like fighting itself, will always be popular"). Nonetheless, Poole's book may be favored bedside reading for both the keen gamer and the armchair philosopher looking to understand this cultural phenomenon. --Liz Bailey, Amazon.co.uk
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Steven Poole is a journalist and writer who has contributed articles to the Guardian, the Independent, and the Times Literary Supplement. He has also worked as a composer for television and short films.