Makes reading about multiplayer first-person shooter video gaming just as boring as reading in-depth accounts of any other...

GAME BOYS

PROFESSIONAL VIDEOGAMING’S RISE FROM THE BASEMENT TO THE BIG TIME

New York Post entertainment features writer Kane tracks the world of competitive video gaming as it moves out of Internet cafés and into the high-stakes world of televised grudge matches.

Tracking the roughly two-year journey of a pair of leading teams, the author goes into overdrive making sure we know that they’re not the antisocial losers of popular myth, but he doesn’t create much interest around them. The book follows two five-man teams that specialize in a first-person shooter game called Counter-Strike, played with religious fervor by hardcore gamers who look down on mere mortals playing Halo and Doom. Starting off in 2005 at the Cyberathelete Professional League (CPL) winter championship in Dallas, Kane tracks the team players through a series of poorly organized matches held in hotel ballrooms. The players resemble pro athletes with their coaches, training sessions, reviews of old games—even, occasionally, salaries. Leading Team 3D gets impressive sponsorship money due to their stylish marketability and savvy young leader Craig Levine, while up-and-comers CompLexity are funded entirely by their leader, lawyer Jason Lake, who has poured nearly $400,000 into the venture. The contrast is there, but it’s hardly The Bad News Bears. A dispiriting spectacle gets goosed only slightly when media behemoth DirecTV starts taking an interest and makes noise about turning the matches into the next X Games or televised poker. That development thrills many of the gamers, who would love nothing more than a smidgen of respectability and a steadier income. The author occasionally wrings some human interest from one of his subjects, particularly Cuban-American Danny “fRoD” Montaner, a kid with personality and a deadly sniper’s eye. However, Kane’s background in splashy weekend features shows in the book’s overly glib prose, which is adequate in short bursts but tiresome over the long haul.

Makes reading about multiplayer first-person shooter video gaming just as boring as reading in-depth accounts of any other sport.

Pub Date: June 23, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-670-01896-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2008

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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