Death by Video Game : Danger, Pleasure, and Obsession on the Virtual Frontline
Video games are a truly unique art form, interactive works of storytelling that can engage us, shock us, and entertain us in equal measure. But there’s a great deal we don’t understand about how video games affect us. Why do some people marathon-play games and end up dead? Is the knee-jerk reaction to blame violence on video games justified or nonsensical?
Death by Video Game is a thoughtful examination of the influence of video games, exploring why we play; the potential cultural, social, and personal impact; the tragedies and scandals linked to games; and the debate over the artistic merit of the genre as a whole.
Parkin cuts a wide swath through video-game culture, sharing lots of personal stories from designers and players alike, but handling hard topics with fairness and consideration. (I loved his brief history lesson on outrage against new artistic forms, particularly the articles doomsaying reading).
Bookending the narrative with video-game deaths was also intriguing, adding weight to a book that might’ve felt frivolous in the hands of a less capable writer and researcher. You might find fewer concrete answers than you’d like here, but Parkin’s work is an important step forward in the learning process.
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