Game Boys: Professional Videogaming’s Rise From the Basement To The Big Time
Author: Michael Kane
Games Boys: Professional Videogaming’s Rise from the Basement to the Big Time by Michael Kane is the best inside look at the competitive videogaming industry I have read to date. He peels back the layers of this very complex subculture and lays it all out there for anyone to read – from the gamers themselves to the parents who try to understand. Game Boys has it all – the celebratory victories, the heartbreaking losses, the passion of its supporters, and he doesn’t leave out the backroom dirty laundry either.
This book is an informative, exciting, unsanitized read; he does not sugarcoat the competitive gaming industry; instead he offers an outsider’s perspective of a largely misunderstood section of today’s society. Author Michael Kane has managed to translate the excitement of competition into his words, and sometimes I found myself reading faster through the competition gameplay to get to the moment of victory – even though I already knew the results of many of the matches he wrote about.
As a participant full of passion for the videogame industry, there were so many times I found myself identifying with CompLexity GM Jason Lake and harbouring feelings of resentment towards Craig Levine. Like Jason Lake, I believe in the grassroots foundation of this wonderful industry, and even though Craig Levine has done much to get competitive videogaming out there into the main stream of today’s world, I often felt that Levine’s tactics were less than honourable, and I am of the generation when honour was at the forefront of how you conducted your life. These are elements which make for a great book – eliciting emotion and appreciation from the reader, making the reader care about the characters in the story.
Michael Kane has artfully included every aspect of our advancing technological world – global friendships and rivalries, heroes and villains, supportive families and families who feel the gamer is wasting his or her time. Corporations who only look at the biggest and the best for exposure, instead of looking at and supporting the grassroots events and players who keep the industry churning forward on a daily basis. Event promoters who are in it for the dollar, and to heck with the injury they do to our industry by scamming the players who have poured their heart, soul and often their last dollar into feeding their passion for gaming in hopes of making it to the winner’s circle.
I commend Michael for the honesty of his words, even the ones which cast a less than idyllic light on the e-sports industry, because the end result shows that our cyberathletes truly are no different from the mainstream sports athletes. They train, they play, they do things they shouldn’t, but when it comes right down to the final seconds it’s all about the game and the opponent in front of them. Game Boys shows how far we as a competitive market have come, but also shows how far we have yet to go. Michael touched very briefly on the girls in gaming, and while some things have changed since Game Boys went to print, much has stayed the same, from the disdain which meets many girl gamers head on, to the insults and unwelcome photos hurled at them on XBL. While the industry is still very much a boys’ club, the girls are rapidly gaining ground – perhaps in the future we can look forward to a book on Game Girls to compliment Game Boys – what do you say, Michael?