Discussing Extra Lives

Over at Gamers With Jobs, I write about my mixed feelings after finishing Extra Lives. One thing that I couldn’t work into the piece was that many of my problems with the book are effectively an occupational hazard. Bissell is writing for a more general audience, and he takes as his subject some populer, widely-discussed games. All well and good, but it does mean that someone who has spent years reading detailed dissections of all these games is going to have a hard time finding anything eye-opening in Bissell’s account.

This isn’t a problem with Bissell so much as it’s indicative of how confined and sometimes groupthinky that games writing can be. It’s not that we all think the same things, but we swarm around certain games and drive them into the ground, while a lot of other good titles come and go with scant comment. Bissell wants to talk about Far Cry 2? Sorry, I just went screaming from the room. I can’t hear or read another word on that game. Choice in Mass Effect? Oh, God, the pain is making me delirious! No matter how well Bissell treats these subjects, they all gave me a bit of a hangover before Extra Lives even began.

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