Rossignol has crafted a nice little book that exudes the feel of a series of expanded magazine articles. The stories he tells of his travels related to gaming and how these stories address his larger theses and sub-theses are engaging and insightful. Even though many "gamers" of today's ilk think more of the living room console when they consider their beloved activity, This Gaming Life centers on PC gaming. This is a fair enough choice as these are the experiences Rossignol has the largest revelations about and they do drive the points home.
The way the book is promoted makes one think that it will be an autobiographical look at one person's adventures with games, but really the personal tales are just a nice starting point for his larger arguments. The book is well written and enjoyable. It is quite an easy read and its short length keeps it from really losing any punch as you continue through it.
The only quibbles I have with the book are largely technical ones. As the book progresses and it begins to refer to its own previous sections, the choice was made to place parenthetical references back to those sections. Although this doesn't sound like a big issue, it is quite the distraction and somewhat insulting. An additional technical gripe is the misuse of the phrase "begs the question." This is a common mistake, but it shouldn't show up in a book from a professional writer, reviewed by professional editors. It just looks sloppy and detracts from Rossignol's authority. The concluding bits of the book are a tad meandering and don't really tie together the previous sections that were overall well thought out and almost poignant.
All in all, this is a good read for anyone who enjoys gaming or tech and pondering the effect they have on our lives. There isn't an "inside baseball" feel to the book that should scare off non-gamers, but it is still unlikely that many who aren't gamers will pick it up and read it. This is another book, like Chris Kohler's Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life
, that is working to create a discourse on games beyond screenshots and history lessons. This Gaming Life is a fun step in the right direction.