After a little frustrating throat-clearing ("We're telling you what argument we're going to make, but some arguments we refuse to make, because... wel...moreAfter a little frustrating throat-clearing ("We're telling you what argument we're going to make, but some arguments we refuse to make, because... well, we're too smart for that."), the authors illuminate some excellent aspects of gaming and play.
However, the book felt really short, and the structure was deeply unsatisfying, as the last two chapters were about the economics of the game industry (a depressing and necessary note to strike, but not exactly a deeply-examined or new perspective) and alchemy as a metaphor for video games and their making, which seemed like a bizarre turn in the argument, and arbitrarily added to a text in which it did not really belong.
As to be expected, I got a little weary of the tendency to resort to sky-high diction and multi-adjective phrases in order to signal that it was, indeed, an academic text. However, the authors avoided a common (and more profoundly unfortunate) failing of critical writing about pop culture: the habit of condescendingly approaching texts or items as artifacts that can be read into or interpreted without any respect for or acknowledgement of their first principles, parameters, or content. Beneath the bluster of clinical diction, a lot of academic writing cowers in fear of exposing its fascination and love for its subject matter, but Ruggill and McAllister clearly have greater ambitions, and for that, I am very grateful.(less)