Winter Driving Best Books of the Month Valentine's Day Shop Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Chi-Raq Bose SoundLink AE All-New Amazon Fire TV Subscribe & Save Valentine's Day Cards Find the Best Purina Pro Plan for Your Pet Amazon Gift Card Offer chiraq chiraq chiraq  Amazon Echo All-New Fire Kindle Paperwhite Prime Exclusive Savings in Video Games Shop Now SnS
Customer Review

25 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth reading, August 13, 2011
This review is from: Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter (Paperback)
I'm surprised that this book is rated (relatively) highly by reviewers. In my opinion, the writing is slapdash, the research non-existent, and valuable insights few.

As other reviewers have noted, the title was a problem for me. "Why video games matter" implied to me a thoughtful discussion of video games as an art form, instead I found the book to be a disconnected, meandering series of personal observations about specific titles. It's like titling a book "why film matters" and then filling it with essays about how you really, really liked "back to the future" and "titanic." Yes, it felt that random.

The writing quality seemed contrived to me as well. The second chapter (about "Resident Evil" (aka "Biohazard")) switches to second person for no particularly good reason. It feels forced- like a precocious junior high school student showing off in an essay contest. I also made the mistake of reading the comments on the dust jacket of the hard cover edition. Bisell is described as an "award winning" author. While I read, I was haunted by the question "what awards? Can you take them back?"

There's much better writing out there about games- see the New Yorker magazine's 2011 profile on Shigeru Miyamoto for an example of good writing. That single article contains more insight and research than this entire book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 

Comments

Tracked by 1 customer

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 13, 2011 1:27:45 PM PDT
Spot on review. I too am disappointed by the praise that Bissell gets for this book (and, for that matter, his subsequent writing on video games for periodicals and websites), and especially agree with his research being nearly non-existent.

It particularly bugged me that he was trying to determine if video games had any 'worth' while at the same time saying things like 'I know people say that several computer games offer more fulfilling experiences, but that's just a bit too geeky for me and I grew up with consoles, so I'm going to stick to examining console games.' That's like saying 'I'm trying to decide if there is anything worthwhile on television, but I'm not going to look at shows on PBS or HBO because I'm used to watching the 4 main networks.'

Posted on May 15, 2013 9:44:49 PM PDT
A. Loomba says:
Wow the Miyamoto article is good. Thanks for the pointer!
‹ Previous 1 Next ›