"I’d would rather game than read a book (and here is why)"

April 10 2007

Yes, I know that title is designed to spark reaction, but it is also the title of a great piece by Vincent King at the Escapist (a great digital magazine that focuses on the gaming industry). It is a great read on why the computer game industry is taking a piece of the pie of entertainment, stealing share from movies, music, and books. Vincent talks about how the immersiveness of a computer game can tell more than book because the user is part of the action. Here is a great piece from the article:

The stories in both Heir to the Empire and Knights of the Old Republic are both well-crafted, with clever twists and turns to keep the user on his toes. Yet I find the game more satisfying. Books are limited by what the reader has to draw upon in imagining scenes.
Adjectives are subject to diminishing returns. Timothy Zahn, the author of Heir to the Empire, could write 100 adjectives in 100 sentences, and he still wouldn't be able to describe every last pixel in every last corner of a single moment in Knights of the Old Republic.

It is a provocative article and I am sure that some people reading it will react strongly to his premise that fiction novels have to change to survive. I do think it makes a strong case to why the immersiveness of games like Knights of the Old Republic and World of Warcraft create worlds and stories, not just another game. That being said, I still read fiction in large volumes when my schedule allows.

2 Responses to “"I’d would rather game than read a book (and here is why)"”

  1. 1) Tim Tripcony says:

    Stephen King once said that movies are more limiting than books because they don't tap into the viewer's imagination: every character has a face that looks (more or less) the same to each person, and won't change no matter how many times the story is told. Books allow the reader to perceive the world of the story however they wish, and often when a story is revisited by the reader years later, their picture of the scenery and characters has changed significantly, keeping the story new and alive. Although not technically a game, this is where I think Second Life presents intriguing possibilities. There's no plot, per se, so the story of that world evolves into whatever the participants imagine and create.

  2. 2) John Head says:

    But since I am in the game and can effect the story and outcome, doesn't that get around the "movies are more limiting than books because they don't tap into the viewer's imagination: every character has a face that looks (more or less) the same to each person, and won't change no matter how many times the story is told" issue? Doesn't the immersiveness of a game address that issue?

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