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Download Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter, by Tom Bissell Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,321 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tom Bissell Narrator: Tom Bissel Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Tom Bissell is a prizewinning writer who published three widely acclaimed books before the age of thirty-four. He is also an obsessive gamer who has spent untold hours in front of his various video game consoles, playing titles such as Far Cry 2, Left 4 Dead, BioShock, and Oblivion for, literally, days. If you are reading this flap copy, the same thing can probably be said of you, or of someone you know.
Until recently, Bissell was somewhat reluctant to admit to his passion for games. In this, he is not alone. Millions of adults spend hours every week playing video games, and the industry itself now reliably outearns Hollywood. But the wider culture seems to regard video games as, at best, well designed if mindless entertainment.
Extra Lives is an impassioned defense of this assailed and misunderstood art form. Bissell argues that we are in a golden age of gaming—but he also believes games could be even better. He offers a fascinating and often hilarious critique of the ways video games dazzle and, just as often, frustrate. Along the way, we get firsthand portraits of some of the best minds (Jonathan Blow, Clint Hocking, Cliff Bleszinski, Peter Molyneux) at work in video game design today, as well as a shattering and deeply moving final chapter that describes, in searing detail, Bissell’s descent into the world of Grand Theft Auto IV, a game whose themes mirror his own increasingly self-destructive compulsions.
Blending memoir, criticism, and first-rate reportage, Extra Lives is like no other book on the subject ever published. Whether you love video games, loathe video games, or are merely curious about why they are becoming the dominant popular art form of our time, Extra Lives is required reading.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Mike Graziosi | 2/14/2014

    " The best treatment of video games I've ever read. Most of the book focuses on how video games can stand on their own as an art form unlike any other. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Emily | 2/10/2014

    " This book is about the delivery of story in interactive media. I appreciated getting recaps and commentaries on key games that I will never have time to play (Bioshock) or any inclination for (FPSen are not for me). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Peter Landau | 2/9/2014

    " Came for my kids, and to understand their obsession, left with an appreciation of the myriad ways storytelling can adapt and thrive (but no cure for the addictive quality of gaming). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Chris McClinch | 2/7/2014

    " Good explorations of what makes video games tick and why they consistently disappoint as narrative art, but falls short of fulfilling the promise of the book's subtitle: why video games matter. The real difficulty is that the book is too tied up with the subjective perspective of its author, meaning that it too rarely transcends the first-person account of what it was for Bissell to play the games. As such, it answers why video games matter to Bissell, but not within any larger context--a major problem for one of the few books exploring an industry whose profits dwarf Hollywood. "

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