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6/29/10, 7pm: Harvard Book Store presents Tom Bissell, author of "Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter"

Tom Bissell. Photo Credit: Trisha MillerFrom the Harvard Book Store website:

Tuesday, June 29th, 7:00 PM
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Avenue

This event is free; no tickets are required

Until recently, Bissell was somewhat reluctant to admit to his passion for games. In this, he is not alone. Millions of adults spend hours every week playing video games, and the industry itself now reliably outearns Hollywood. But the wider culture seems to regard video games as, at best, well designed if mindless entertainment.

Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter is a defense of this assailed and misunderstood art form. Bissell argues that we are in a golden age of gaming--but he also believes games could be even better. He offers a critique of the ways video games dazzle and, just as often, frustrate. Along the way, we get firsthand portraits of some of the best minds (Jonathan Blow, Clint Hocking, Cliff Bleszinski, Peter Molyneux) at work in video game design today, as well as a final chapter that describes, in searing detail, Bissell's descent into the world of Grand Theft Auto IV, a game whose themes mirror his own increasingly self-destructive compulsions.

Tom Bissell is a prizewinning writer who published Chasing the Sea, God Lives in St. Petersburg, and The Father of All Things before the age of thirty-four. A recipient of the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Bay de Noc Community College Alumnus of the Year Award, he teaches fiction writing at Portland State University and lives in Portland, Oregon. He is also an obsessive gamer who has spent untold hours in front of his various video game consoles, playing titles such as Far Cry 2, Left 4 Dead, BioShock, and Oblivion for, literally, days.

Photo Credit: Trisha Miller

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