Saturday, September 6, 2008
READING IS COOL. Reading about video games is cooler.
The other day, me and my friend went for a day trip to Walden Pond, one of the most charming and tranquil (once you get away from the noisy mayhem of a kindergarten which is the Main Beach) places in Massachusetts. We sat on the stone steps, shutting off whatever technology that could connect us to the world outside of this temporary paradise, and started to read. Then a mother - her art noveau earrings gave away certain elegant back-to-nature hipness - came along with two sons somewhere between five and eight years of age and looked at us with a smile.
"Look!" she turned to the moderately scruffy kids. "That's a way to spend your free time. Sitting in the woods and reading books. Instead of, for example" - then came the (mock-)serious face - "playing video games."
I didn't want to spoil the educational moment, but couldn't resist the temptation of a punch line.
"Actually, I'm reading a book about video games."
The illusion of two wise men studying collected works of Thoreau fell apart.
The book, This Gaming Life by the Quake III veteran and games journalist Jim Rossignol, is actually one of the first books exclusively dedicated to the gamer experience, an account of how obsessive gaming can change one's life for the better. Giving accounts of gaming cultures of London, Seoul and Reykjavik, it's an insightful (however journalistic and scattershot) comparative study of gaming cultures, very much in line with what I try to investigate and write about.
And its old-fashioned hardcover design barely suggests it's about something as non-Walden as video games.
- ▼ 2008 (5)