The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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dsheinem
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Book 2 for Quarterly Game Book Reading/Discussion Group?

by dsheinem Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:55 am

So we're entering into the last month of the fist quarterly book club, and we should probably start thinking about a book to read for quarter 2 starting in December so people have ample time to order it/pick it up.

I think it might be interesting to consider a fiction book this time, and have a few in mind, but am curious what others think.

Some food for thought:

http://io9.com/5849161/10-recent-novels ... videogames

http://www.g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/7 ... ame-books/

too bad this isn't out until March: http://austingrossman.dreamhosters.com/you-a-novel

And then there's this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_no ... ideo_games


------------------
Original Post/Overview of Club

This is an idea that I've been kicking around for a while, and something that would combine two of my favorite features of this site into a (hopefully) worthwhile endeavor...

I love the community discussion and bonding that goes on around the monthly "Together Retro" game, the "Shmup of the Month" or even the "Summer Challenge", "Month of Horror", etc. Without these components of the site, I'd probably be less inclined to be so active here. I also really, really like the debate and discussion in the "Games as Culture" section of the forum - it is probably my favorite sub-forum and the one that sparks what I feel is the most intellectually stimulating discussion.

So the idea is a simple one: we pick a book that is about video games in some form and fashion, and allot three months to reading and discussing that book. It could be fiction or non-fiction, but should be widely accessible to anyone who can read at a HS graduate/college freshman level. I'd be happy to lead the first quarter or two, and after that other people could take the reins from book to book. It would also be fun to schedule a few activities like a monthly IRC chat session, an end of book Skype conference call, etc.

So, for example, we could spend September-November reading something like "How to Do Things with Video Games" by Ian Bogost (which I am currently reading). We could discuss chapters and ideas in a dedicated thread, have a moderated late September and a late October IRC discussion, and then do a Skype call or something at the end of November for everyone who was involved.

The quarters I want to set up are designed to catch a nice chunk of holidays in each quarter so that more people can read during time when they typically would get some time off from work or school.

Sept-Nov (Labor Day, Thanksgiving)
Dec-Feb (Late Dec/Early Jan holidays)
March-May (Spring Break, Memorial Day weekend, Easter)
June-August (4th of July, Summer Break for people in school)

Anyway, I think if there are at least a half dozen people interested, this could really be something interesting and a fun experiment. Sound off in this thread and let me know what you think, what ideas you have about format and so on, and whether or not you'd be up for participating. If there's sufficient interest, I'll get a poll going early next week to pick a book from a list of 3-5 choices.

IN:
dsheinem
noiseredux
jfrost
CFFJR
Key-Glyph
dunpeal2064
General_Norris

MAYBE:
Ivo
brunoafh
Nemoide
JT
retrosportsgamer
MrPopo
Last edited by dsheinem on Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:18 am, edited 9 times in total.
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noiseredux
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Re: Interest Check: Quarterly Game Book Reading/Discussion G

by noiseredux Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:58 am

oddly, I've kicked around the same idea in my head as well. So yeah, I'm totally in. I read a fair share of video game books each year ("fair share" probably being closer to "about one a quarter" actually, hahaha) anyway, and always wish there was a bit more discussion of them here.

some thoughts...

I do like the idea of sort of having a rotating moderator. Perhaps someone who has read the book previously, or just has some kind of expertise on the subject y'know?

The IRC thing is a good idea. The Skype thing, I don't know how likely it is I'd show up. No real reason other than I've never used Skype before haha. But I don't know, maybe like during the quarter that a book is being read there would just be a set night each week where anyone participating could hop into an IRC channel to continue discussion? Though then again, having a dedicated thread keeps the discussion there for those to see that maybe can't stick to a set schedule. Hmm.

Anyway, maybe for the first one set up a poll, but then if we did the "taking turns to moderate" thing, then the moderator for that quarter could select the book? Just a thought. I know that when it comes to things like Together Retro, SOTM, etc I'm often more excited to be "assigned" a game I've never heard of than to vote for one I am. If that makes sense.

Also, I just thought of a good side-effect of all this: the games.

I know that when I read Racing The Beam I was sending PM's to Dave about how awesome the book was (we read it at the same time) but then I was also firing up Atari compilations and playing the games that were being discussed in the book at the same time I was reading it. That really makes things feel hands on and helps you appreciate the subject matter even more. So of course discussion of the books can lead to further discussion of the games.
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Re: Interest Check: Quarterly Game Book Reading/Discussion G

by jfrost Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:22 am

I'm in.
Ivo
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Re: Interest Check: Quarterly Game Book Reading/Discussion G

by Ivo Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:36 am

It is a good idea Dave. I like reading but I do not often read books about video games (I like reading about games but apparently not in book form?) so I may not join in.

Another possibility is alternating with a similar type of in-depth discussion of articles (like design articles) or directly deeper games (like Braid). But we already have regular forum posts and stuff like Together Retro for that so perhaps this suggestion of mine doesn't make much sense. I am still feeling a bit "lonely" after posting my opinion on Braid and not getting much input about it - guess I should have played it some years ago!

Noise also has good points about playing the games along with reading though. I (and others in Europe) still have a timezone issue though, to meet in real time with the others).

Ivo.
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Re: Interest Check: Quarterly Game Book Reading/Discussion G

by brunoafh Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:05 pm

I'm kind of in the same boat as Ivo. I enjoy reading about games online and stuff, but I've never read a video game book, the thought has never interested me much. Now that I think about it though, I'm not quite sure why, as I enjoy reading books in general.

If a book came up that was of particular interest of me, I'd be down though. So, consider me a maybe for now depending on what kinds of books show up on the poll. I'm not even sure what a video game book would entail.
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Re: Interest Check: Quarterly Game Book Reading/Discussion G

by CFFJR Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:29 pm

I'd be interested in joining up on this. Sounds fun.

I've actually never read a game focused book (that wasn't a strategy guide at least :lol: ) so it'd be a fresh perspective for me.
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dsheinem
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Re: Interest Check: Quarterly Game Book Reading/Discussion G

by dsheinem Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:54 pm

OP Updated to reflect who's in and not. Hopefully we can get a good group committed between now and Monday.
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Re: Interest Check: Quarterly Game Book Reading/Discussion G

by Nemoide Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:57 pm

Maybe. I own a few game-related books I haven't read yet and it would be great to have more motivation to tackle them. And I work in a library, so I should be able to get other titles without much difficulty.

But I also feel like I'm constantly doing battle with my backlog of books, so I don't want to make any solid commitments.
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Re: Interest Check: Quarterly Game Book Reading/Discussion G

by Key-Glyph Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:45 am

Very yes!

I like noise's idea of a rotating moderator. It's similar to the way my library does book discussions: each month a different librarian signs up to lead the group and chooses a book title for all participants to read. The librarian is responsible for doing extra research on the title and author they're chosen, and gives a smallish spiel at the opening of the meeting to set the stage for the conversation. It works fabulously. You get all kinds of variety.

If we go with a rotating discussion "leader," I don't think we need to worry about doing extra research on the material (although, if someone is willing to do it, that's awesome) -- but it would be kind of neat to go with the idea of having each leader explain why they chose their particular book as a way of introducing the selection. I am always interested in why people take interest in their books, hobbies, etcetera, and would love a paragraph or two of exposition if people are willing to give it.

I also want to go on record saying that people who've shown up to the discussions I've led at the library and who have not finished reading the book were often just as worthwhile participants in the conversation. Our meets are open; we have a strong group of regulars, but anyone can drop in for any month's discussion, and anyone can choose not to come just as easily. I'd want people to feel the same way about our group here and not get hung up on "signing up" or being too official about anything. It's not written in blood, and I'd hate to see otherwise interested individuals deterred from sharing their thoughts because they were approaching the group like a series academic course. We're not grading anybody. ...right? :P
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Re: Interest Check: Quarterly Game Book Reading/Discussion G

by J T Sat Aug 25, 2012 4:08 am

I'm currently reading the following academic text on games:
Games, Learning, & Society: Learning and Meaning in the Digital Age. I would recommend this for those interested in a more serious look at games.

I'm also reading Ready Player One, which is a cool fictional book about a guy that made his millions making videogames. After he dies, he leaves behind a video will & testament that clarifies that the only person that will inherit his fortune must win a contest that requires an immense amount of knowledge about videogames and 80s trivia. It's hella fun.

I'd be interested in reading those with the group, or the Ian Bogost one dsheinem originally mentioned.
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