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About the Author

Heather Chaplin is a journalist who has written for many major publications, including the New York Times, Fortune, and Salon. She lives in New York City. This is her first book. Aaron Ruby has written extensively about the videogame industry and has reviewed videogames for Entertainment Weekly. He lives in New York City. This is his first book.


Adult/High School-This thorough history in eight essay-style chapters begins at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2001 with CliffyB, a 26-year-old who already had nine years of experience in the industry. The story goes back in time to MIT in the late '50s and the development of the first video game. Moving onward to the present, readers meet developers at Nintendo, the creators of Doom, the developers of the Sims series, and players of Massively Multiplayer Online games. By the book's finish, the arrival of video games as the dominant form of contemporary entertainment could not be made clearer than by the embrace of gaming by two behemoths of industry-the U.S. Military and Microsoft. The essays consist of both first-person interviews and well-noted research and give a holistic picture of how the industry developed the way it did. Lots of numbers and facts back up the popularity of video games-for example, it only took a year for PlayStation2 to appear in 10 million homes, a feat that took the telephone 35 years to accomplish. This immensely readable book will have great appeal with gaming teens, but should also be required reading for librarians interested in learning more about gaming and its role in our culture and our teen-focused libraries.-Jamie Watson, Harford County Public Library, Belcamp, MD Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Freelance journalists (and married couple) Chaplin and Ruby team up for a wide-ranging look at the video-game industry. They dwell extensively on the corporations behind the games, from Nintendo's humble origins as a playing card manufacturer, to the extravagances of today's most popular game designers, who have earned millions by applying their world-class computer programming skills to increasingly complex imaginary worlds for players to explore, both peaceful (The Sims) and violent (Grand Theft Auto). The game players are the other major part of the story, and Ruby's experiences in the gaming community prove especially helpful as his role-playing character becomes intertwined with that of one of his interview subjects in online multiplayer games like Star Wars Galaxies (Ruby writes this portion in the third person and mentions his wife's frustrations with the time he spends online without naming her, underscoring the duo's efforts to make themselves invisible in the story). Much of the reporting takes place at gaming tournaments and industry expos, reinforcing the circuslike atmosphere. A chapter on the U.S. military's interest in using video games as both recruiting and training tools adds some gravity, but overall it's easiest to appreciate this work as a whirlwind subcultural tour. Agent, Daniel Greenberg. (Nov. 4) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

The entertaining and vivid Smartbomb brings video games to life in all their bewildering, provocative, and disturbing forms. The Boston Globe"
"The entertaining and vivid Smartbomb brings video games to life in all their bewildering, provocative, and disturbing forms." -- The Boston Globe

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