Steve's Reviews > Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter

Extra Lives by Tom Bissell
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's review
Dec 29, 2010

liked it

I had high hopes for this book, though I'm not a gamer. I was very interested to see Bissell's argument. Although his argument wasn't very strong as to why video games truly matter within the cultural landscape, he did a great job of showing why video games matter to the people to whom they matter.

The only huge problem I had with the book was that I was loving every single chapter...until the last one. And it still bugs me how much I just truly disliked that chapter. In fact, I didn't hate it straight from the beginning. It was interesting to read about his analysis of the Grand Theft Auto game world and how it differs from other games and what that means to the gaming landscape. I just truly don't think the author's bout with cocaine addiction...well, matters, at all. Although Bissell injects his own video game stories throughout the whole book, it usually pushes his points along, and he usually paints himself as a one-of-many-gamers character who feels very similarly as the rest of the gaming world about certain games and how they make them feel. However, the book's revisiting of his cocaine addiction during the time when he got into GTA4 was completely loose-fitting to the rest of the whole book and made the book seem, to me, as if I had been reading a different book up to that point.

Now up to that point, I had largely enjoyed the book. That is why I was still able to muster up three stars to this book that would have otherwise been granted at least one extra star.
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Fabio Bracht Well, it mattered to the author. It's actually the whole point of the chapter, to draw that comparison, that link that so strongly exists in his experience. I enjoyed it. It gives power to the narrative.

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