If you were at Escapist Movie Night at PAXEast this past weekend (or you caught an earlier reveal during the Desert Bus charity event) you already know about this, but for everyone else it would seem the cat is out of the bag…
So! I’m writing a book. Or, rather, I’ve written a book and – barring any unforseen disaster – it will be coming out soon. It’s a book about video games, and is being developed with (and will be sold exclusively online through) fangamer. If I had to describe it as anything it would be a book of game criticism; though not of a kind I’ve found anywhere else.
Further details (all of which are, it goes without saying, wholly subject to change) after the jump…
At this time the book itself doesn’t have a title I can officially announce or cover-art, but the main text of the thing has been written. My “big idea” was to take the longform “scene-by-scene” (or shot-by-shot) analysis often applied to book-length criticism of movies or plays to gaming by, essentially, novelizing a “Let’s Play.”
The approach: I would play all the way through a classic game – every level, every enemy, every item, the whole experience – and analyze everything about it as I went: The mechanics, the layouts, the art-design of the sprites, the aesthetics of the backgrounds, the music, the known history of the production, cultural references and context, etc. In addition, since it’s my position that the effect our moods outside of gaming effect the interactivity of the medium and vice-versa, the “narrative” of playing the game would be intercut with the “narrative” of what was going on in my life during the play-through.
I chose “Super Mario Bros. 3” to be the subject, mainly because it’s my favorite game but also because it’s the best possible candidate: A classic game, part of the most famous series in the entire medium, lengthy, linear and enduringly popular enough that a sizable portion of a prospective readership would be familiar with it. It ultimately took on a greater significance, though, as the initial play-through itself wound up coinciding with my preparations for moving out of the home I’d grown up in – in other words, playing this game in the house I’d first fallen in love with it for the last time.
So… yeah, this is “labor of love” stuff. But I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t proud of the idea that – to my knowledge, at least – this kind of in-depth analysis hasn’t been done at this scale for a single game. For good measure, it also includes a history of the franchise and my own personal history with it.
At this time, all I can say about release dates is that we’re angling to have it available within the next few months (my goal is to have some copies ready to sell in-person at SGC – fingers crossed) but I’ll be updating here as more information re: dates, cost, title, etc is made ready for public reveal. I’m nervous but excited about the whole process… I just hope enough of you folks A.) give it a shot and B.) like what you find.
Stay tuned for more details.