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32 of 44 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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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 21, 2011 10:40:09 PM PDT
K. Wark says:
Kyle, the military entertainment complex has nothing to do with the US Army putting "out a few games." Its about where technologies come from. Behind a good many of the components which make up the digital gaming universe are technologies funded by ARPA and its successor DARPA. This is so well established -- and by historians, and not "post-structuralist fashion" -- as not really to be a matter of debate.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2011 12:52:39 PM PDT
Obvious says:
It's really better if authors don't comment on their own reviews. Seems a little narcissistic.

Also, your work should stand or fall on its own.
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