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Lost in a Good Game

Why We Play Video Games and What They Can Do for Us
Narrated by: Ryan Burke
Length: 9 hrs and 50 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

'Etchells writes eloquently ... A heartfelt defence of a demonised pastime' --The Times

'Once in an age, a piece of culture comes along that feels like it was specifically created for you, the beats and words and ideas are there because it is your life the creator is describing. Lost In A Good Game is exactly that. It will touch your heart and mind. And even if Bowser, Chun-li or Q-Bert weren't crucial parts of your youth, this is a flawless victory for everyone' --Adam Rutherford

When Pete Etchells was 13, his father died from motor neurone disease. In order to cope, he immersed himself in a virtual world - first as an escape, but later to try to understand what had happened. Etchells is now a researcher into the psychological effects of video games, and was co-author on a recent paper explaining why WHO plans to classify "game addiction" as a danger to public health are based on bad science and (he thinks) are a bad idea. 

In this, his first book, he journeys through the history and development of video games - from Turing’s chess machine to mass multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft or Fortnite - via scientific study, to investigate the highs and lows of playing and get to the bottom of our relationship with games - why we do it, and what they really mean to us.

At the same time, Lost in a Good Game is a very unusual memoir of a writer coming to terms with his grief via virtual worlds, as he tries to work out what area of popular culture we should classify games (a relatively new technology) under.

©2019 Pete Etchells (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

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Imagine with me

The best description of our shared imaginary worlds I have ever seen, and a great repudiation of the understanding that computer based games are somehow, some way outside of the rest of human culture. A book not to miss.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Catherine
  • 06-22-19

Outstanding book spoiled by the narrator

This is a brilliant book, well written, interesting and thought provoking. I’d recommend it to anyone with any interest in games, psychology or the scientific method.
I did find the narrator off putting though - although he reads well it was continually grating to hear a Bon written by someone who is British and which is set largely in the UK read by someone with such a broad American accent. His strange pronunciation of place names and odd emphasis made it difficult to listen to at times.
Having said that, the book was good enough for me to thoroughly enjoy it despite this and I’ll probably listen to it again.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • David Law
  • 07-02-19

Bit bias

I am, and have been a gamer, for 25 years. i am passionate about them forever and bought this in the hope of exploring the study of the media. I find his comments on addiction are lacking though, as he only comments on how much games impact users - while using them. Like speaking about the impact of gambling, or other addictions, while sufferers are involved in the vice. However, the impact of withdrawal needs to be taken into account also, when quantifying addiction. He also skirts around the recent shift of games to incorporate gambling techniques to keep people hooked, only speaking about obvious examples. However, his own favorite - world of warcraft - clearly employs the same techniques to encourage regular play. The author mentions that he's bias, but i feel that chapter 7 onwards is still hard to finish, despite that admission. The studies he picks out by this point in the book, are also cherry picked to illustrate his own point. All i do agree with is, his point about how the discussion on the subject needs to be less vitriolic, but i dont feel this book invites that discussion. I play games for hours a day, and don't feel that they impact my life negatively. However i can see a very easily see how it could be quantified as addiction, and more importantly - know MANY gamers who cannot bring themselves to be seperate from whatever avatar they have created of themselves

0 of 1 people found this review helpful