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Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter (Unabridged)

by Tom Bissell

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Tom Bissell is a prizewinning writer who published three widely acclaimed books before the age of 34. 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 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. 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 listening.

Customer Reviews


This is a must read! Really great insightful stuff and the best part is that this book about video games is brilliantly written.

Raging homo

Mb, sir

You are incredibly stupid to catergorize all gamers as people who sit in front of a screen or a monitor for six hours. Please do yourself and everyone in the world a favor and kill yourself. Thank you.

Poor lost soul


Just because you lack the depth of personality required to find companionship outside of iTunes reviews and do not have the ability to try and understand or rationalize a group of peoples behavior to the point where you dismiss everything that you do not do as substandard or "triggered by mental diseases" doesn't mean you have to find as many places to shoot down a group of people just to make yourself fell better about not fitting in.

I don not suggest that you try the last comment's suggestion, but instead take the time to work out the deep emotional probelms you must have deep in your soul.

Thank you.

Tom Bissell, Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter (Unabridged)
View in iTunes $17.95
  • Narrator: Tom Bissell
  • Published: 2010

Customer Ratings