Posted by: Montola | May 10, 2010

Reviews #8: Chong and #9: Hook

Two more reviews have appeared in Amazon, by Chun-hyok Chong and Nathan Hook. Without further ado, here they are.

Brilliant, Not Practical
Chun-hyok Chong

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.

4/5 stars.

A Defining Text
N.R. Hook

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.

Good points

  • 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.

Bad points

  • 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.

5/5 stars.

Earlier reviews: White, Fatland, Gerdes, Holter, Noyons, Pettersson, Harviainen.


  1. […] reviews: Chong, Hook, White, Fatland, Gerdes, Holter, Noyons, Pettersson, […]

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