Most people associate video games with dimly lit rooms, glazed eyes and endless procrastination. But how about with art? Journalist Tom Bissell wrote Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter (available 6/8) by doing just that.
Bissell has no training in video game design, nor has he done extensive research into the history of this peculiar technology. Instead, his book is based on the idea that video games, like films, novels or paintings, constitute an art form worthy of criticism. Bissell acknowledges some problems with his approach—how can one, for example, fully appreciate a work of art that offers infinite user experiences? He overcomes these by relying on his sometimes deeply personal gaming experiences, a strategy best implemented when he explores Grand Theft Auto through an account of his simultaneous addiction to that game and cocaine. Above all, Bissell’s writing is casual, smart and funny—perfect for bringing to light a complex world usually, and quite literally, shrouded in darkness.
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