Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter

It's a tough sell. The author has to make his book accessible enough for non-gamers, but still interesting enough for gamers of all levels. As a result, this book veers erratically between a genuinely entertaining 'experiential' account of the author's video gaming habits, and a boring, dime-a-dozen primer on video games. For example, the blow-by-blow recounting of the opening minutes of Resident Evil might be interesting to someone who has never played the game before, but as someone who has played that game (and especially that section of that game) more times than he cares to admit, I found that there were very few actual insights in this chapter.

I recently listened to an interview with the author on the Brainy Gamer podcast. The pre-defined audience of this podcast allowed him to go into a lot of detail regarding his thoughts on the relationship between cocaine and GTA IV, and I was left wondering why he couldn't have included these thoughts in the actual book he was promoting? It would have made the book a lot more enjoyable.

In the end, I feel as if the author failed to show us 'why video games matter', but rather told us why video games matter to him - and even then only weakly. For a more engaging and coherent argument on why video games matter, check out [book:Everything Bad is Good for You].