May 28th, 2006

Suddenly, Video Game-oriented Books Abound

Now that summer's here, perhaps you need some light reading for the beach.

In case you hadn't noticed, a surprising number of game-oriented books have come out in recent weeks. We've got reviews in the works for all of the following:

Dean Takahashi's The Xbox 360 Uncloaked spins the tale of how Microsoft's next-gen system came to be. Dean also wrote a great inside look at the development of Microsoft's original system, Opening the Xbox. The author covers technology for the San Jose Mercury-News and writes about games along with Mercury-News colleague in the excellent Dean & Nooch on Gaming blog. GP's Matt Paprocki is working on a full-blown review...

Best-selling author Douglas Coupland (Microserfs, Eleanor Rigby: A Novel) sets his latest work of fiction, JPod in a fictitious game development company.

Village Voice writer Ed Halter examines the militarization of games in From Sun Tzu to Xbox: War and Video Games.

Finally, Prof. Ian Bogost of Georgia Tech - and the excellent Water Cooler Games blog - takes a scholarly approach to dissecting games in Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism. Jeff McHale will be reviewing this one for GP.

Want to talk about it? You can discuss this story via the "comments" feature (click below), or in the new GamePolitics Forums...

Sunday Editorial Roundup: All Louisiana, All the Time

This weekend's selection of editorials and op-eds all deal with Louisiana's pending video game legislation, a subject which GamePolitics has been tracking relentlessly.

First up we have none other than Jack Thompson, the Miami attorney and anti-game activist, who penned an op-ed, "Proposal is needed to prevent a Louisiana Columbine" for the Shreveport Times.

The Times, of course, ripped both Thompson and the Louisiana legislation in its own May 16th editorial, so perhaps this was the paper's way of giving the Miami attorney equal time.

Thompson's op-ed contains nothing GP readers haven't heard before, save for the news that the controversial anti-game activist will be testifying before the Louisiana State Senate this Tuesday as that body considers Rep. Roy Burrell's video game bill, HB1381. Burrell's proposal was approved by the Louisiana House unanimously earlier this month. Thompson helped draft the legislation. Beyond that, Thompson once again touts his 1999 appearance on the Today Show, cites several well-known school shootings, and mentions research data which he claims gives support to his position.

As he did at the May 10th hearing on Rep. Roy Burrell's bill in the Louisiana House, Thompson continues to push perhaps the silliest idea we've ever heard in the long-running political debate over video game content:

"All of the 'Grand Theft Auto' games are designed to be played on the PlayStation 2 with the 'dual shock' controller. This hand-held device gives you a pleasurable buzz back into your hands with each kill. This is operant conditioning, behavior modification right out of B.F. Skinner's laboratory."

Houma Today, named "Newspaper of the Year" by the Louisiana Press Association, issued an editorial in opposition to Louisiana's pending legislation. Houma Today's editors pose the question, "If it's unconstitutional, why do it?"
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