Less fun than mashing buttons, but a worthy opening salvo in what is likely to be a burgeoning field of academia.

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FUN INC.

WHY GAMING WILL DOMINATE THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

A treatise on the current and future state of video games.

In his debut, Prospect magazine arts and books editor Chatfield explores topics ranging from the culturally pervasive influence of video games throughout the world to the ways in which games offer unprecedented opportunities for modeling social and economic behavior. That video games have become big business—surpassing even movies in terms of total revenue—is no surprise. What is surprising is the level of depth and complexity offered by games like the massively popular World of Warcraft, in which its more than 12 million subscribers create “avatars” of themselves and explore a medieval fantasy world in a quest to improve their characters’ abilities while simultaneously building real-life social networks (and facilitating many of the aforementioned behavioral studies). Chatfield spends considerable time effectively debunking commonly held conceptions that violent video games beget violence and that immersive games create addiction problems, but he introduces new issues to consider, including the complicated question of legal ownership in a virtual environment and the growing trend of buying and selling virtual goods—an industry estimated to be worth billions of dollars annually and currently unregulated (and untaxed) by any governing body. The author, an unapologetic gaming advocate, strives to inject the narrative with nuance, but it’s clear that his eye is on the medium’s future potential and gaming’s inevitable continued growth. His insights and conclusions are sensible, though the book succeeds far better when Chatfield chronicles the effectiveness of games as educational tools or the myriad technological breakthroughs spurred by the gaming industry than when he veers off on philosophical tangents about the importance of gaming to society.

Less fun than mashing buttons, but a worthy opening salvo in what is likely to be a burgeoning field of academia.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-60598-143-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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