Two more reviews have appeared in Amazon, by Chun-hyok Chong and Nathan Hook. Without further ado, here they are.
Brilliant, Not Practical
I thinks this book is too theoretical or philosophical to get something practical. I was able to feel the authors had tried to write down their brilliant view or insight in the book, but it was not possible to feel the in-field expert’s power from the book.
A Defining Text
Firstly, don’t be put off by the title. This book is well worth reading for game designers, larp organisers and non-traditional theatre people.
- Strong readable style. Unlike some textbooks, this one can be read cover-to-cover.
- Accessable explanation of concepts such as the ‘magic circle,’ making this a good text for readers new to game theory generally. This is supported by extensive references.
- Avoids getting caught up in technological implementation details. This means the book will age well.
- Quite comprehensive in scope, includes a discussion of ethics and games which did not work well in the end.
- Some of the same case study examples get referenced over and over again. This is partly a reflection of where pervasive games are now, does make the book coherent and the examples are all good in their own right, but a few more may have been useful.
- As an example of the above, Vampire larp gets a brief discussion as ‘almost accidentally gave birth to the pervasive larp genre’ but the international Camarilla society (both monthly larps, and 24/7 email and irc play used together than ran for years) isn’t discussed.
- The concept of ‘bleed’ is mentioned, but could have been expanded on further, particularlly in relation to some of the games described that are intended to carry a polticial message.