SOCIAL SCIENCES

Thinking About Video Games: Interviews with the Experts

Indiana Univ. Aug. 2015. 270p. notes. index. ISBN 9780253017109. $25; pap. ISBN 9780253017154. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9780253017185. GAMES
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OrangeReviewStarHeineman (coauthor, Rhetoric Online) offers a series of interviews with a wide variety of stakeholders in the video game industry such as Atari, Inc. founder Nolan Bushnell and game designer Eugene Jarvis. Each discussion covers a lot of ground, including the early history of gaming and the need for documenting it; the economics of gaming past, present, and future; and recent issues surrounding race, gender, and sexuality in gaming and the broader culture. By touching on an array of topics the author succeeds in painting a vivid picture without going too in-depth on any given subject. Before each conversation Heineman thoroughly introduces the topic and the interviewee, providing context for those unfamiliar with the industry, specifically its jargon and issues. Certain interviewees are less eloquent than others, and the exchanges can suffer as a result. Overall, the tone is academic in nature, with terms such as game studies being common.
VERDICT This worthwhile read is for any gamer, or for anyone interested in this cultural phenomenon; it will make you think critically about video games.

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