Burn 'em all.

About 8-10 years ago we did a big ol' search for books about gaming and aside from hilarious compilations and dry history of computing books there was virtually (ha ha) nothing. Searching on Amazon this weekend and boy oh boy are there a load of books with interesting titles about video games (aside from Halo novels, Prima guides etc.):
Exodus to The Virtual World, Warcraft Civilization: Social Science in a Virtual World, Casual Revolution, Introduction to Game Studies: Games and Culture, Computer Games: Text, Narrative and Play, Teaching Video Games (Teaching Film and Media Studies), More Than a Game: The Computer Game as Fictional Form and a shed load of others. Sadly most of them are more than a bit hand wavy and 90% of them start with the same hundred or so pages pleading with the non-existent non gaming reader who accidentally picked up the book: "Games are important, my university tenure is so valid, games really are important". I recently went to a book shop to pick up one of the latest books Fun Inc.: Why Games are the 21st Century's Most Serious Business. My experience in acquiring this book lead to me to the following thought.
The front cover is a bit general management to be fair
The Gamerati are constantly searching for widespread approval or some kind of audible ding to signal that games have become socially acceptable. Some, quite sensibly argue that this has already happened, others seem to endlessly search for the sign. Is it when we get a good TV documentary about video games? Is it when pro-gaming becomes something you can bet on? Is it when movie critics mention gaming in their column? Is it when the economy collapses because everyone takes a sick day when GTA IV comes out? Or is it when government passes tax breaks for the game industry? I would like to suggest a new yardstick so we can easily tell when Video Game Culture has finally dinged social level acceptable: It's when bookshops start having a video games books section.
The last four or five times I've been to an actual shop to buy a book it's never been easy. This Gaming Life was obviously in travel. Second Lives was in computing under 'Web'. The Art of the Video Game was under computing-3D graphics. Powering Up was in indoor games Fun Inc. was clearly in business-general management and Starcraft novels are quite rightly with the comics and the sci-fi books.
When all these can be found under the same section will be the day when Waterstones staff actually judge a book by its contents and the day that we can relax about gaming being 'normal'.

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