Also a book by Steven Poole (which I have, out of boredom, nitpicked at length) which puts forward an aesthetic analysis of video games. The book is aimed at readers who have little or no knowledge of the subject, and offers a refreshingly broad and high-brow perspective on the issue of what games are trying to represent. It is a fairly quick read that covers a lot of ground in passing and goes straight to the meat of Poole's arguments. As a result we get some really nicely put forward passages about consistency, and semiotics, and the role of storytelling in games, as well as more off-the-wall stuff (such as Pac-Man as a capitalist parrable).

The only problems with the book are that the interview subjects Poole chooses are fairly pointless (with a couple of exceptions) and there is too much of a bias towards a handful of PlayStation titles, when there is such a vast library of diverse games that could have been utilised. There is also a niggling feeling that Poole doesn't know enough about games himself to make some of the judgements he does.

But as a short, well-written introduction to games from a critical perspective, this is hard to fault. Hopefully it will open the door for more serious writing about games from people outside of the industry. And certain broadsheet art critics should acquaint themselves with it ASAP.

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