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Death by Video Game
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In Canada, volunteers are raising money for charity by playing marathon stints of Penn & Teller's Desert Bus, probably the worst video game ever created. Across the globe, thousands of viewers tune in to Kurt J. Mac's epic but seemingly pointless voyage towards the outer realms of Minecraft's procedurally-generated world. In Iraq, mothers encourage their children to enter Call of Duty competitions to keep them off the bomb-ravaged streets of Baghdad. And in Taiwan, a spate of deaths at gaming cafes is raising questions about what playing video games does to us. In Death by Video Game, renowned gaming journalist Simon Parkin delves into the lives of obsessive gamers to answer the question: why do we spend so many hours of our lives in virtual playgrounds? Telling the stories of gamers and the developers who create the worlds they obsessively inhabit, Death by Video Game is a window on the human stories that have made video games the twenty- first century's most vibrant cultural medium.
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We play games to kill time. But what does it mean when games start killing us?

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About the Author

Simon Parkin is an award-winning writer and journalist from England. A sought-after video game pundit, Parkin has been a guest on BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live and his criticism and journalism has featured in numerous high-profile publications, including the New Yorker, Guardian and New Statesman.

Reviews

Parkin has a deft sense of the ways that video games appeal to and satiate the longings of the spirit ... Death by Video Game offers an excellent sociocultural study of the 21st century's quintessential art form * Washington Post * Engaging, multifaceted, exhaustive, and touching ... exceptional ... Parkin excels at combining in-depth, unflinching journalism with smart prose ... a must read * Pop Matters * The best book about video games ... brainy enough to appeal to even the deepest gamer, and yet accessible enough for the reader who hasn't picked up a controller in years * GQ * A sort of love-letter travelogue [and a] thought-provoking introduction to the fastest-growing religion on the planet * The Times * A thoughtful and intelligent exploration ... Parkin holds a mirror up to society, allowing even those with no personal gaming experience to gain insight into this global obsession * BBC Focus * One of the best writers around on games and games culture ... Parkin's quest for the big picture quickly takes him on to the many ways in which video games are a part of life * New Scientist * One of the most effortless and masterly voices in video game writing ... [Death by Video Game is] an enlightening and well-informed survey of developments in the medium, attempting to explain what it is that drives people to these virtual worlds ... [Parkin] offers the kinds of measured and erudite perspectives that are rare in discussions of this medium * New Statesman * The book is rich in personalities ... Parkin is an excellent writer, sensitive and empathetic, at his best when simply talking with people ... for Parkin, games are a safe place to retreat to from a more complicated, dangerous and unpredictable world * Times Literary Supplement * Terrific ... [Parkin is] one of the best journalists and critics who writes about games ... a meditation on video games and their peculiar power over us * Kotaku * Remarkable ... Parkin's style [is] energised by empathy alongside his ability to craft an engaging human story ... this fine book is a must-read for those who play games as well as those who seek to understand the attraction that this form of play holds for others - such as parents bemused by their child's immersion in the popular world of Minecraft * Australian * Groundbreaking ... his reportage leads to brilliant, fresh insights ... accomplishing that rare feat of teaching while entertaining, this work ignites a series of debates crucial to the future of video games * Library Journal * Parkin has a literary eye for scenic and investigative detail ... thoughtful, serious criticism on gaming and play * New York Times Book Review * [A] precise and fluent study ... an expansive, detailed and memorable tour of digital frontiers * Literary Review * What these stories share - besides Parkin's exceptional flair for writing - is [a] deep-seated affection for gaming ... [Death by Video Game] explains, with wisdom and generosity, precisely what it is about gaming that draws us to the art * Details Magazine * Parkin is a powerful writer ... the prose gleams with enthusiasm and wonder and as far as any book can transport us into these digital worlds, Parkin does so marvellously * National * Entertaining ... [Parkin is] one of the leading voices in video games journalism ... fascinating reading. -- Jack Arnott * Independent * An in-depth look at the role of video games in society ... [Parkin] invites readers to examine human nature and the multitude of ways video games fit into our world * South China Morning Post * An entertaining, intelligent read * Shortlist * A fantastic insight into video game obsession * International Business Times * Entertaining ... enjoyable and informative * Fortean Times * Simon Parkin's surgical story-telling reveals the humanity, beauty and truth beneath the surface of our digital adventuring -- Jonathan Smith, Director of the National Videogame Arcade The finest book on video games yet. Simon Parkin thinks like a critic, conjures like a novelist, and writes like an artist at the height of his powers - which, in fact, he is. -- Tom Bissell, author of Extra Lives and God Lives in St. Petersburg Death by Video Game is life by video games. Simon Parkin is gaming's Jon Ronson, and his book charts the extremes of the medium to try to answer the question why the hell do we all care about video games anyway?' -- Kieron Gillen, writer of Iron Man, Uncanny X-Men and The Wicked + The Divine, co-founder of Rock, Paper, Shotgun The best book about video games I've read since I wrote one -- Steven Poole, author of Trigger Happy

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