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Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter de Tom…
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Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter (edició 2010)

de Tom Bissell (Autor)

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386948,875 (3.43)2
""Bissell successfully dissects key aspects of the medium with razor-sharp sense and artfully crafted analysis. A thought-provoking, thorough, and ultimately personal study of the industry and its denizens."---Cliff Bleszinski, design director, Epic Games" ""The last thing I ever thought I'd do in this life is read a book about video games. And yet Extra Lives is sharp, critical, and very funny, and ---Tom Bissell's description of killing zombies in the first iteration of Resident Evil is simply a tour de force. If you've ever wanted to know what Grand Theft Auto actually is, why a highly intelligent person would be interested intelligent perosn would be intersted in it, and whether it is in fact © rt,'you will really like this book." ---Keith Gessen, author of All the Sad Young Literary Men" ""The best long-form writing about games I've read. No one else has written an experiential consideration of games that so carefully and lovingly examines their blossoms and warts. No one else has written such an astute personal account of the push and pull of games, both in terms of their meaning in our lives and in the many ways they infiltrate our consciousness and drive us bananas. No one has given me more reason to believe I'm not crazy when I say I cherish-and I don't casually use that word-the experiences video games have given me."---Michael Abbott, brainygamer.com" "Tom Bissell is a prizewinning writer who published three widely acclaimed books before the age of thirty-four. He is also an obsessive gamer who has spent untold hours in front of his various video game consoles, playing titles such as Far Cry 2, Left 4 Dead, BioShock, and Oblivion for, literally, days. If you are reading this flap copy, the same thing can probably be said of you, or of someone you know." "Until recently, Bissell was somewhat reluctant to admit to his passion for games. In this, he is not alone. Millions of adults spend hours every week playing video games, and the industry itself now reliably outearns Hollywood. But the wider culture seems to regard video games as, at best, well designed if mindless entertainment." "Extra Lives is an impassioned defense of this assailed and misunderstood art form. Bissell argues that we are in a golden age of gaming-but he also believes games could be even better. He offers a fascinating and often hilarious critique of the ways video games dazzle and, just as often, frustrate. Along the way, we get firsthand portraits of some of the best minds (Jonathan Blow, Clint Hocking, Cliff Bleszinski, Peter Molyneux) at work in video game design today, as well as a shattering and deeply moving final chapter that describes, in searing detail, Bissell's descent into the world of Grand Theft Auto IV, a game whose themes mirror his own increasingly self-destructive compulsions." "Blending memoir, criticism, and first-rate reportage, Extra Lives is like no other book on the subject ever published. Whether you love video games, loathe video games, or are merely curious about why they are becoming the dominant popular art form of our time, Extra Lives is required reading."--BOOK JACKET.… (més)
Membre:izaperkoski
Títol:Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter
Autors:Tom Bissell (Autor)
Informació:Pantheon (2010), Edition: First Edition, 240 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
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Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter de Tom Bissell

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Es mostren 1-5 de 9 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Self indulgent ramblings by a childish self confessed cokehead. The only amazing feat this book accomplishes is sounding pretentious without actually claiming anything grand. ( )
  TeaTimeCoder | Dec 23, 2020 |
This is an extremely thought-provoking and well-written book and could be read by any writer looking for insights into writing (and not just for video games). What can story-tellers learn from the gaming world? The question of story is increasingly occupying the video game industry, as was made clear by a resent NYT piece on the new Gears of War release that features this author as one of the game creators (he is apparently getting less into playing and more into game-creation). Some take-aways:

1. Writers of fiction devolve action out of character; writers for games devolve character from action, essentially imposing character on top of code. As Bissell writes, gamers resist having any predetermined character set that will “interfere” with “total play,” essentially being the “agent of chaos in the video-game world.”

2. Bissell praises some game writers for “narrative minimalism,” where a player left (for example) in a zombie-infested world has no greater goal than survival. These games refuse “to explore the who, what, why, or how of its zombie citizenry” (41-42).

3. Bissell also makes a distinction between a set frame (zombie apocalypse) and the “ludonarrative,” the modifiable steps a character takes between points A and Z, always changing and shifting but inevitably ending up in the preset terminus. Perhaps there’s a parallel with genre, in which a thriller is a set frame with a ludonarrative that shifts given the protagonist and setting. There are certain things genre narrative must doi, just as there are limitations (at least for now) in on-line games.

4. One of the most interesting points Bissell makes is that players can feel real emotion and engagement with a game. But often, that doesn’t come from the game itself but through the experience of playing and bonding with other players while game-playing. After a particularly harrowing sequence of “Left 4 Dead,” when Bissell abandons his on-line teammates to a savvy zombie horde, he is shamed into risking his character’s life to save surviving players. “At great personal risk, and out of real shame, I had rescued two of my three friends and in the process outfaced against all odds one of the best Left 4 Dead teams I had and have ever played against. I realized, then, vividly, that Left 4 Dead offered a rare example in which a game’s theme (cooperation) was also what was encouraged within the actual flow of gameplay… all of the emotions I felt during those few moments – fear, doubt, resolve, and finally courage – were as intensely vivid as any I have felt while reading a novel or watching a film or listening to a piece of music. For what more can one ask? What more could one want?” (46-47)

5. For the most part, the characters in games don’t change through play; they are the vehicles of exploration (80). However, players can change as a part of their interactions with other players. So the story unfolds in the space of the player as a character within the framed narrative, because of his "ludotropic" and unpredictable actions.

6. The act of playing with others is profoundly different from reading, even if you read the same book and discuss it later in a class or with a friend or in a book club. A key part of gaming is increasingly that it is not only a shared experience, but that a central part of the experience is the competing against or bonding with others, even those you only know by their silly online names.

7. Games don’t pose arguments, they present systems with which to interact” : Video game critic Chris Dahlen. But fiction starts with the variables, not the system (Bissell). These are “very different formal constraints" (86).

8. Until recently, games have lacked the “stickyness” comes with emotion, when characters really stick with you. That, though, is also morphing with games like Bioware's Mass Effect and Rock Star's Grand Theft Auto IV.

9. I wonder if the new motion consoles, like the Kinect, will lead to players actually inhabiting and speaking for their online avatars?

Ludonarrative (from Wikipedia): a portmanteau of ludology and narrative, refers to the aspects of video game storytelling that are controlled by the player. It is contrasted with fixed or embedded narrative which are the purely narrative, non-interactive aspects of the game that are determined by the game's designers and told through cutscenes or other related devices. Ludonarrative is considered an essential concept in videogame theory

( )
  MaximusStripus | Jul 7, 2020 |
I think this books title is wrong. I read through this whole thing, which is written like someone studying for the SATs - littered with large obscure words for no other reason then to use large obscure words, and I still don't know why games don't matter. Perhaps a better title would have been "Why Video Games Matter to Me" or perhaps "Good Writing makes Good Games."

The book gives a brief history of the top games of the last decade (2000-2010) and talks about why they were the top games. It also includes several interviews with game designers about the choices they made and what they think makes good games. It's a lot of good information if you don't know much about console gaming and want a background of the best in the industry. However, the writing includes a lot of references to geek and pop culture which would go over the heads of people that would benefit most from that information.

So if you are looking for something that talks about video games and it's impact on culture, this is not the book for you. If you want to read about someone who played a lot of video games and what he thinks of them... then this is your book. ( )
  nmorse | Dec 3, 2019 |
There are several moments that made me laugh out loud, especially when the author related his first experience with Resident Evil and the godawful voice acting. Other than that, it seems as though the author is trying to relate what video games mean to him, and by extension, society.

Most of it questions what a video game is exactly and tentatively replies that it is art. Being a person that has enjoyed a fair number of video games, I thought this book would be up my alley, but I didn't like it as much as I liked The Ultimate History of Video Games. It is interesting, but not really what I wanted. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
In 1972, Magnavox introduced Odyssey, the first home video gaming system. It spawned a medium that eventually dominated nearly every aspect of popular culture. Tom Bissell explores the esoteric universe of modern video games in the engrossing Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter.

From his real-world perch, Bissell reveals the often surreal aspects of the gaming world. He tackles game design, corporate machinations, gender politics, social interactions, convention etiquette, and yes, even player experiences. Culturally aware, Bissell crafts his portrayals and commentaries with style and panache.

In the opening chapter “Fallout,” Bissell offers the first of many accurate and amusing game descriptions:
Fallout 3 bravely takes as its aesthetic foundation a future that is from both six decades old and one of the least convincing ever conceptualized. The result is a fascination past-future never-never-land weirdness that infects the games every corner: George Jetson Beyond Thunderdome.
He concludes the initial chapter with this thought-provoking perspective on his goals for Extra Lives.
I am uninterested in whether games are better or worse than movies or novels or any other form of entertainment. More interesting to me is what games can do and how they make me feel while they are doing it. Comparing games to other forms of entertainment only serves as a reminder of what games are not. Storytelling, however, does not belong to film any more than it belongs to the novel. Film, novels, and video games are separate economies in which storytelling is the currency. The problem is that video-game storytelling, across a wide spectrum of games, too often feels counterfeit, and it is easy to tire of laundering the bills.
Bissell introduces the various complex video game play and design elements, waxing poetic from his roles of journalist, philosopher, and fan. For each of the nine chapters, he unfurls different components while centering on Bissel-guided, player perspective tours of popular video games. Filtered through his unique lens, Bissell interviews animators, writers, programmers, marketers, reviewers, and game players. In Chapter Five “Littlebigproblems,” we accompany him to DICE (Design Innovate Communicate Entertain), the annual summit for the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences held in Las Vegas, which affords Bissell another chance for observation.
Like any complicated thing, however, video games are “cool” only in sum. Again and again at DICE, I struck up a conversation with someone, learned what game they had done, told them I loved that game, asked what they had worked on, and been told something along the lines of, “I did the smoke for Call of Duty: World at War.” Statements such as this tended to freeze my conversational motor about as definitively as, “I was a concentration camp guard.”
As Bissell unveils the layers of his chronicle, each more seductive than the previous, the true meaning behind Extra Lives becomes apparent. Bissell ultimately compiles an insightful study on the nature of obsession in general and his own in particular.
These days, however, I am lucky if I finish reading one book every fortnight. These days, I have read from start to finish exactly two works of fiction—excepting those I was not also reviewing—in the last year. These days, I play video games in the morning, play video games in the afternoon, and spend my evenings playing video games. These days, I still manage to write, but the times I am able to do so for more than three sustained hours have the temporal periodicity of comets with near-Earth trajectories.
Bissell manages to produce an image of a popular but little understood media in an entertaining and intriguing manner. Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter offers far more than just a mere education on video games, but a treatise on creativity, business, and obsession that should appeal to everyone, regardless of personal interests.

This review first appeared at RevolutionSF, August 6, 2010. ( )
  rickklaw | Oct 13, 2017 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 9 (següent | mostra-les totes)
“Extra Lives” is a busy, scattered book — a series of essays and pieces of reportage, several of them previously published — that lacks a narrative or a sustained argument. The book scurries around like Mario, the industrious plumber in Super Mario Brothers, hopping over low brick walls. Very often it’s as dull as someone telling you his dreams. A more accurate subtitle might have been, “You Had to Be There.”
 
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""Bissell successfully dissects key aspects of the medium with razor-sharp sense and artfully crafted analysis. A thought-provoking, thorough, and ultimately personal study of the industry and its denizens."---Cliff Bleszinski, design director, Epic Games" ""The last thing I ever thought I'd do in this life is read a book about video games. And yet Extra Lives is sharp, critical, and very funny, and ---Tom Bissell's description of killing zombies in the first iteration of Resident Evil is simply a tour de force. If you've ever wanted to know what Grand Theft Auto actually is, why a highly intelligent person would be interested intelligent perosn would be intersted in it, and whether it is in fact © rt,'you will really like this book." ---Keith Gessen, author of All the Sad Young Literary Men" ""The best long-form writing about games I've read. No one else has written an experiential consideration of games that so carefully and lovingly examines their blossoms and warts. No one else has written such an astute personal account of the push and pull of games, both in terms of their meaning in our lives and in the many ways they infiltrate our consciousness and drive us bananas. No one has given me more reason to believe I'm not crazy when I say I cherish-and I don't casually use that word-the experiences video games have given me."---Michael Abbott, brainygamer.com" "Tom Bissell is a prizewinning writer who published three widely acclaimed books before the age of thirty-four. He is also an obsessive gamer who has spent untold hours in front of his various video game consoles, playing titles such as Far Cry 2, Left 4 Dead, BioShock, and Oblivion for, literally, days. If you are reading this flap copy, the same thing can probably be said of you, or of someone you know." "Until recently, Bissell was somewhat reluctant to admit to his passion for games. In this, he is not alone. Millions of adults spend hours every week playing video games, and the industry itself now reliably outearns Hollywood. But the wider culture seems to regard video games as, at best, well designed if mindless entertainment." "Extra Lives is an impassioned defense of this assailed and misunderstood art form. Bissell argues that we are in a golden age of gaming-but he also believes games could be even better. He offers a fascinating and often hilarious critique of the ways video games dazzle and, just as often, frustrate. Along the way, we get firsthand portraits of some of the best minds (Jonathan Blow, Clint Hocking, Cliff Bleszinski, Peter Molyneux) at work in video game design today, as well as a shattering and deeply moving final chapter that describes, in searing detail, Bissell's descent into the world of Grand Theft Auto IV, a game whose themes mirror his own increasingly self-destructive compulsions." "Blending memoir, criticism, and first-rate reportage, Extra Lives is like no other book on the subject ever published. Whether you love video games, loathe video games, or are merely curious about why they are becoming the dominant popular art form of our time, Extra Lives is required reading."--BOOK JACKET.

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