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  1. Top Authors
  2. PRESS START TO PLAY - Daniel H. Wilson; John Joseph Adams - Livro
  3. Science Fiction & Fantasy
  4. Video Game Reviews

Coma Kings by Jessica Barber — Coma is a game you plug into that involves you building structures in a competition. The winner seeks to destroy the others construct and it is a big craze. The two sisters in the book are extraordinary talented players with one of them going so far as to have the game implanted directly into the brain putting them in a vegetable like state.

Their consciousness exists only in the game and it is here that the other sister must try and reach her. Stats by Marguerite K. Bennett — A man finds himself in a really weird and shitty situation when someone begins messing with his real life stats. Please Continue by Chris Kluwe — A young guy rises up the ranks of players but sees the finish lose its lustre and ends up telling us to go out and get a real life. Creation Screen by Rhianna Pratchett — A character is created who seems to have the soul of a condescending and disapproving mother as she proceeds to lecture the reader on how their life is wasted in front of a screen and that the deeds achieved in game mean nothing in life.

Killswitch by Catherynne M. Valente — Awesome. Hard to explain why but if you are a gamer you will get it. A kid creates a program and tells it to go learn some shit and get back to him. A billion cycles later and what is talking to him infects every known system in the planet and is wicked smart. There are some that had a video game in them but did not feel like they captured the spirit and a few that felt like they were written by people who had never played a game in their life or saw them as the end of society.

The rest of them were fantastic and showed some real imagination and talent. The highlights for me were the stories by Wrexler, Mastrantone, Howey and Valente to name a few. View all 3 comments. A diverse panorama of a medium that is about to grow more influential than books and films, in terms of narratives and morals alike. I'm boldfacing my special favorites. She comes to sit A diverse panorama of a medium that is about to grow more influential than books and films, in terms of narratives and morals alike.

Beside the sliding glass doors of the entrance, a multicolored strip of tape was marked cm, cm, cm, and cm. These cameras took particularly crisp images; brazen robbers drawn in by desire for a little bit of scratch would eventually leave a clear capture of their likenesses, and their careers would end with an arrest. Japanese police were good enough at that sort of thing.

In that case, I considered, we should put a button beside the door for robbers, so that when they pushed it, a machine would dispense a few ten-thousand-yen bills, take a picture of their face, then automatically report it to the police. Maybe then the criminals would form an orderly queue and await their turn in solemn silence. Will the existentialist satire of Hiroshi Sakurazaka's "Respawn" stick in my head like that stick at the end? Listen to them Now that I learned how far they were willing to go for someone they never met.

Time to wake up. I am ready. Beware: it's also a heavy spoiler. My kind has always fed on belief. I designed you. I wrote the script. I am ancient, and I am newborn. One of the beer bottles topples over, rolls to the floor, and shatters. Mariko sends the Dark Queen back to hell. I wrote the goddamn ending! It also reminded me that among my CDs, I still have a climate change edutainment sim developed by an EU research institute You feel nauseous.

Your bare feet crunch against what feels like layers of papers, books, and cardboard. The room is freezing, even colder than the bed. You are shuddering. It is dark in the room. The alarm is beeping loudly. Now I'm off to check The Lurking Horror I find an uncomfortable degree of truth in observations like these: Meg, on the rare occasions that she permitted herself solitary recreation, preferred Jane Austen novels or independent films. Monitor glow made his head a silhouette. No one designed reality to be compelling. It takes the most interesting things that ever existed—like knights in armor and pirates on the high seas—and combines them with the most interesting things that anyone ever dreamed up—fire-breathing dragons and blood-drinking vampires.

To privilege reality simply because it is reality just represents a kind of mental parochialism. Oh my poor own 'Meg. In fact, the novelette may be too short a format for fleshing out all these issues; but it's long enough to set you thinking.

Top Authors

Trying to make sure can only make things worse. When she was at the air-lock door, she turned around. When you tell your own story, you seize life. I know enough. Valente's "Killswitch" and Andy Weir's "Twarrior" were both extreme enough to make me cringe sympathetically and laugh, respectively. Hence, a lesson for writing flash fiction: pull no punches. We need less grimness and more gardeners, even in first-person shooters. Especially in first-person shooters. Aug 02, Paul rated it liked it. I love reading anthologies, its a great way to find new authors , read side stories so current favourites , and see a range of imaginations in bitesize form.

For me , in recent years I have found John Joseph Adams to be one of the best editors in the game. This is a book I was quite excited to start and anticipated great things. The book was inspired to some degree by Ernest Clines recent books butbthe intro reveals his story failed to make the deadline and the disapointment continued from there. Its not all terrible. I enjoyed a reasonable amount of the stories. Andy Weirs humour shines through, Hugh Howey's was a strong one to finish on, Rhianna Pratchetts was a decent story, Ken Liu's was very good.

Of the lesser knowns I quite enjoyed Jessica Barber. But so much of the rest ranged from ok to bad. Many barely fit the guidelines for the collection. To be honest I think about pages could have been cut and it would have vastly improve the book. It felt like digging through a pile of muck to find anything of quality and frankly an anthology shouldn't be that much effort. Maybe they were a bit soft on the submissions or only got a vert small amount buy it really could have done with a harder hand. Iys a bit of a shame , the idea did bring out some good imaginative stories but I won't be recomending this too much.

Jan 06, Steven rated it really liked it Shelves: read-in , urban-fantasy-paranormal. Didn't feel like we learned anything at all about Antimony or Artie either. Aug 12, Krystianna rated it it was amazing. Review from my blog: For those of you who don't know, I'm a huge fan of gaming. I've played games all my life, and grew up with a PlayStation 2 which I have been playing Guitar Hero 2 on since age 8. Yes, it's that intense. I also love playing Xbox, Wii, and PC games.

Any game console will do. That's why the second that I saw this book, I knew I had to give it a read. Plus, it had some writing by Ernest Cline, who is my favorite author of all time. Press Start to Play did not disappoint. It was fi Review from my blog: For those of you who don't know, I'm a huge fan of gaming. It was filled with video game related short stories, some of them horror, some science fiction, and some fantasy. Sometimes the video games would even converge with real life, and those were the ones that I ended up loving most, because they were creepy!

This was also my first anthology read, and I have to say that I now absolutely love short stories. Basically you are a worker on the moon collecting iridium every day and you have a crush on Carla. One day, you level up and everything is so different, which makes you miss the days that you spent crushing on Carla, going on missions, and eating Lean Cuisines.

I think the coolest thing about this one was that the main character was literally "you", making you feel the experience even more. If he was murdered, he became the murdered. It was the coolest concept.


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Imagine that happening to you; you basically could never die. Friends who knew a guy named Soren online all go to his funeral, only to find that he left behind a game to answer questions behind his death. This game starts to blend into the real world in the awesomest way possible. This is definitely my favorite short story so far, and now I know why everyone loves Holly Black. Yet another short story that I loved! This one also featured a huge twist towards the end. Definitely worth the read! The Relive Box by T.

I feel like it's definitely something that could come about in the future. It's basically a stimulation that lets you relive anything from the past that's happened, and you can relive it as many times as your heart desires, which is insane. The world would never be the same and it'd definitely start to take over your life, as this short story shows. It touches some very unique concepts that are definitely worth talking about such as child labor.

I highly suggest reading this short story. The sister however was hooked up to the game so she was alive online, though just not in person. It was a very cool concept, I loved it! It takes the idea of role-playing to a whole new level, as the gamer is literally playing as someone else. It was cool to get inside the head of the character that's being forced to move around and fight things without really wanting to. There was even more, but I don't want to make this review any longer than it already is! Long review short, if you are a video game fan or love reading books about video games, this is the book for you.

Press Start to Play is a new favorite that I will never stop recommending. A copy of Press Start to Play was provided for the publisher. God Mode by Daniel H. He falls for a girl named Sarah, who is also from America. When Sarah hits her head, stars in the sky start disappearing and Australia gets cut off from the rest of the world.

This story was extremely good because I thought it was going one way only for it to have a huge twist and it ended up being completely different. Desert Walk by S. Masantrone 3. He begins playing it and interviews the author, and some creepy stuff happens. I just feel like the creepy stuff that happened wasn't all that creepy, but rather I saw it coming.

It seemed to be linked to cats, but it was never said it it actually was. Also, I found this disease that many people had to be very creepy. Sarah is at her cousin Artie's house reading comic books when Artie decides to download a video game which basically glues them to the floor and forces them to complete puzzles or else they'd be sucked in to another dimension. Like I said, pretty horrorish. Also, I loved the comic books being talked about in this one.

It made me love the story a little more because I had something in common with the characters. There was also a huge twist at the end! The idea was very interesting too-this guy had made a game that somehow went too far and was taken over by his friend.

Plus, some of the characters came to life. It was something about earth and weather, and this person was trying to figure out why there was no way to win the game. I loved how it was one of those command games, and the reader basically just reads through the commands, which was very cool.

It was like I was actually playing! I loved all the artwork This book was also very creepy, because it featured a video game that was kind of bleeding into real life. Things that would happen in the game would coincide with real life, which was pretty freaky! I was a bit confused at first, though it does start to make sense. I don't want to say much because I don't want to give anything away!

It was quite cool to read about, and rather creepy at the same time. The main character kept changing bodies, though he didn't know why. The ending was the creepy part, though I don't want to give it away! Basically, the main character has devoted his life to gaming, though time keeps passing as he's leveling up because it's taking him years to do so. There is more to life than video games. The entire time I was reading it I was completely engulfed in all the words because the world was just so awesome.

There were twists and turns too, which I liked. The main character is going through training to see which job he'd belong with, and at the very end the reader finds out. It was fun to read! Twarrior was super funny, and I loved how he learned everything from the internet so he only talked in slang. I really liked how the video game allowed the player to do whatever they wanted; it was a cool concept. View 2 comments. One of my stories is in this, so I may be biased.

But now that I've read the rest, I was really impressed! May 04, Cathy rated it liked it Shelves: science-fiction , anthology , short-stories , people-of-color , horror , read-in When I started this t I was excited to see the mix of familiar favorite authors and people that were new to me, it seemed like good balance. One of the reasons I like reading anthologies is to discover authors to add to my to-read list, if I don't find at least one new author that I really like in a larger anthology it's quite disappointing.

And that is the point of anthologies too, it's not just about selling them, it's about marketing the authors and selling more of their books and 3. And that is the point of anthologies too, it's not just about selling them, it's about marketing the authors and selling more of their books and stories. These authors have interesting backgrounds too, a lot of scientific and technical backgrounds along with their often extensive writing experience and many writing awards.

Plus they invited a bunch of authors who are primarily writers for video games or also write for video games, so they definitely knew their business. There was also some nice international flair, both in a few of the writers' backgrounds and in the stories. It wasn't extensive, but was good to see. Overall the stories were all good, and I enjoyed a few quite a lot. Seanan McGuires's was my favorite but that was probably at least partly because I'm into the series it's a part of. It was a fun theme and I was never bored except one time.

Though it became clear from reading my friend Mogsy's very good review of the book that I didn't always get some of the nuances or cool aspects of the stories because I'm not a gamer, so if you are you might get even more out of it than I did. It was great that they included a number of authors outside of the usual pack, going for gamer insiders.

But I wished there were some younger or less experienced regular short story writers too. There were only two or three traditional authors not primarily video game authors who weren't very well known to me, and they were still well known authors. Daniel H. Wilson - G-d Mode - It wasn't about a video game, it was about view spoiler [the singularity, or at least about those two in the process of being uploaded.

Is he saying that if versions of them live in the computer, that by definition is a video game, their lives have become a game? I guess it depends who's in control of the systems. Charles Yu - NPC - It probably says a lot about getting what we think we want and it not being what it's cracked up to be.

I like my simple life, so I get that, fame and fortune isn't on my to-do list. So it's video games as a metaphor for life and all that. It didn't matter whether the game was real or not or what real even meant here. It was a good use of the theme, a decent story. Hiroshi Sakurazaka - Respawn - It had such a funny opening: "In the beginning G-d created the screen.

And the screen was without form, and void; and all the pixels were dark I liked the way he brought it back around to the intro at the end too, if not the action the guy took at the very end, which seemed inconsistent with his personality and experiences. It was a great story except that very tiny end part. I tried hard to find more of his stories and books, the anthology model worked well here, one of only two authors in the book I looked up.

But I already had a couple upcoming books reserved too, most of the authors were well known to me, as I said. There isn't a lot available in the States or in the US library system from this many, many awards-winning Japanese author, a real shame. This story had subtle but good use of theme. Mastrantone - Desert Walk - It was a good kind of creepy, and enjoyably nostalgic, until it ended too up in the air to have any meaning. It was a so-what ending because I didn't know what had happened and there was no question left about what might happen next to extend the horror. Good use of theme if a bit expected.

Charlie Jane Anders - Rat Catcher's Yellows - Smart use of the Toxoplasma gondii parasite concept and boy was it weird to see it twice in a week, having also seen it in M. Hanover 's Unclean Spirits as part of his Rider theory of how demons, vampires, lycanthropes, etc. As someone who became disabled in her thirties, it was hard not to relate to this story, though I'm very grateful to be much more functional than the people with this disease.

I related to the caregiver too, having been on that side of the equation as well. It was a very good story and a very good use of theme, a touching and clever story. Her first novel will be out soon, I've already reserved it. Holly Black - 1Up - It was very Holly Black, if you've read any of her books you'll recognize her style: good friends, kind of dark, kind of funny. She's great at writing for kids and about kids. It was a good story and a very good use of theme.

If I'd know this was in here I'd have read the book months ago! McGuire has the most fun with Annie in anthologies, from bombs to roller derby to comic books to video games, Annie has the best interests. The full list of InCryptid short stories , many free to download, is on the author's website.


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This was a very fun story that I'm sure I'd have enjoyed as much even if I wasn't familiar with the people, and it would probably have made me want to get to know them. Ah - I may be wrong, my friend Mogsy was not a fan, see review link in my intro above because it was confusing and she felt disconnected from the characters. Well, maybe the second one. But it was a decent story. And it was set in Japan; it was nice to read another one not set in the U.

And his books have been on my to-read list a long time, so it was good to get a taste. Nicole Feldringer - Outliers - Her opening was great, about setting up a competition for regular people to run a climate change simulation model online. It showed in a few paragraphs that "video games" aren't or don't have to be just fun, or things that are fun can also be productive. Like Fix The Debt's interactive resources that let people try creating their own federal budgets, fix Social Security, etc. And be fun. But the character in this story was unlikable. I can absolutely see wanting to skip a family wedding, maybe even a brother you love if your other relationships are bad enough.

But the author didn't show me enough bad to accept that this gal wasn't just shallow and selfish. Nope, just a jerk who was forced to attend virtually and didn't even bother to prepare the toast she was supposed to give. Writing a short story about an unlikable person is tricky and she didn't manage it well, this woman came off as a brat and not as a strong, determined woman with her own agenda.

But it was a great use of theme, and it made sense since the author has a PhD in atmospheric sciences and a Master's in geological sciences. Chris Avellone - - This was written by of the tech guys mentioned in the intro. A creative director of Obsidian Entertainment, he worked on tons of RPGs, plus plus plus, tons of experience. This experience was obvious in this interactive fiction formatted story. It was clever and compelling. Which was life and which is the game? Does it matter? Not if you're trapped either way, I'd guess.

PRESS START TO PLAY - Daniel H. Wilson; John Joseph Adams - Livro

But like many of the stories in the book, it ended with a whimper, a bit disappointing after such a strong buildup. The way it ended was kind of a typical choice for short stories though, a lot of them go there and they're often disappointing in the same way. It was a very obvious and strong use of theme but nicely done. Maybe JJA wanted to include it because it was as much fantasy as science fiction? I think it's funny that stuffy people think Jane Austin books make them seem serious, they're such soap operas, that's why they're fun.

Which isn't significant to the story at all, it was just a tiny thing the woman in the story mentioned that she liked that the man didn't. I didn't like the story much though, view spoiler [Meg didn't seem like the kind of person who would let herself get manipulated like that, with a causal, "well I did it before so I'll just do it again. I get that I was supposed to accept it and just like the impact of the ending but it irritated me too much, I didn't get how she'd have gotten to the point where we saw her.

Science Fiction & Fantasy

The changes to her body were incremental but the choices happened each time. Just because she was frumpy originally meant that I was supposed to believe she was weak willed? I don't like abusive relationship stories and the bad person winning. The story didn't take into account the pain of going from a precious past moment that can't be recaptured and re-awakening in the present. It's hard enough when it's just a dream or a regular memory. Yes, there are some people who would get lost in the past, but I don't think it's the risk that VR could be, I didn't find it that believable.

And the story wasn't great all around. It started off good, I felt the pull of the past too for sure. And the dynamic between the father and the daughter was easy to relate to, as was the bratty but desperately hurting teenage girl. But then it didn't hold up for me. It was up and down. Plus it wasn't about a video game, it was about technology. And it had a terrible ending. Marc Laidlaw - Roguelike - A published author who became a writer for a video game, he knows this from both sides. A nice little injection of humor well needed in the book.

And definitely a video game theme. It important to read stories a about the past and get some perspective on the present. And that game in this story was creepy. I sympathized with Lizzie too, because as much as I enjoy kids, which is more than most people, I was afraid that that enjoyment wouldn't survive if I decided to become a teacher.

I'm glad I didn't so they're still a treat. But why do all of these stories have lame endings? I read a lot of short stories and endings can often be a problem, but this book is worse than most, with many of the authors choosing a common solution that is getting very old. And not always the most impactful solution, even if it might seem dramatic.

I liked the imperfect main character, the way the author managed to weave together a love story, a creepy little horror story and bring in some important social issues as well. It did make me want to check out her books. Even though the game wasn't explained at all, it was just an anomaly. The MC drove the ending all by herself, so to speak. Micky Neilson - Recoil! This was a more traditional action story, more what I'd expect when first thinking about the theme. The word Factions originally bugged me from my perspective as a non-gamer and Insurgent fan, but apparently it was a gamer thing first, who knew?

Millions of people, probably. If this is a good example, I'd bet his adaptations and other stories are quite good as well. Its time we girled it up a little. The gaming world can still pretty unfriendly to women all too often a decade later, it's a shame, but at least it's up and down, there can be a lot of good experiences too. And there are more female avatars and characters and they don't all look like anatomically impossible male fantasies. It was a good story, though not fantastic enough for me to get why they included it in this book except for it being an appropriately themed story by such a popular author.

Jessica Barber - Coma Kings - This neuroscientist, rocket ship builder, etc. We can draw a strong correlation, if not a conclusion, that video games do not rot the brain. My review from the second included, "It was sad It wasn't totally original, I've read other stories about people plugging in and not wanting to come out. But it's obviously going to become more and more of an issue with better technology and virtual reality, and it makes sense that authors are exploring it from different angles and perspectives.

It was a good little story about families and growing up as well. And it was a new author to me and a pretty new author on the scene as well, so I liked that too. Marguerite K. Bennett - Stats - Primarily a comic book writer who's worked for many of the big publishers. I'm not sure I appreciated the story though. Forcing change in the world doesn't seem like it would work. Unless you're willing to kill the vast majority of people who don't comply to whatever your rules are, you self-appointed engineering gods. This woman wasn't any better than any power-mad dictator in the history of the world, Chris Kluwe - Please Continue - "Chris Kluwe is a former NFL punter and a writer, onetime violin prodigy, rights advocate, and obsessive gamer.

ChrisWarcraft is his Twitter name and a significant part of his Wikipedia page is about his gaming life, also amusing. After reading about who his is and what he's done, I totally got the story and I agree with everything in it. But it was too heavy-handed and switched from an interesting story into too much of a lecture. He did help me to understand how people can spend years involved in the games that I don't have the attention span for, even made the idea attractive.

Press Start To Play Episode 5

The lecture had some good points. We need a balance, games shouldn't take over so much of our lives so that the real world suffers from lack of attention or financing. By games he also meant big stadium sports and by real world he meant teachers and scientists. It's an awkward comparison, but the call for balance is certainly a fair one.

And now I'm feeling really guilty about my Bitmoji. This character said all of those physical changes were incredibly painful. I may never change her ever again! The story was simple and just eh, fine. The idea of using the character's perspective was good and some of her thoughts were quite amusing. It just didn't amount to as much as I'd hoped. But just because some parts of the story were written in interactive fiction game format, that didn't make it actually about a video game. I didn't buy that it was anything to do with a game, it was about the kid and the multiple worlds he kept slipping between, the game was just an excuse to get it in this book.

It was eh, a little tortured, trying too hard to be deep. Certainly not the cool or even modern and fresh story the name implied. As usual, it suffered from a not great ending. So one of my favorite short story authors also writes video games, who knew? I'm looking forward to his first novel, out soon. But though his stories are usually creative and terrific, this was dull. Too much detail, not enough to engage me with the character. Good story, he's the most consistent and prolific short story writer.

Catherynne M. Valente - Killswitch - Originally published in on InvisibleGames. It was vary Valente, a fictional myth about the gaming world. A vary short, good story. Andy Weir - Twarrior - This was a humorous one. Though if it learned everything it knew from the Internet would its spelling be awful or perfect? Of course it was funnier that it was adolescently obnoxious.

Jarvis is only cool if you can hear him. Hugh Howey - Select Character - I kind of loved this one. Of course I would, right? Not all women and men think completely differently, some women want to play shoot-'em-ups to shoot-'em-up, but a lot of women are looking for something different from games and from the world than men are, or at least see things from a different perspective.

We need to value different perspectives and approaches, in games and in life. I'd like to think that the ending was likely, that a woman's way of thinking and advancing would be valued so highly, or at least a peaceful, nurturing perspective regardless of who was playing. Jul 12, Brenda A rated it liked it Shelves: comic-con Going to review this singularly because they all deserve it: God Mode by Daniel H. It doesn't really explain much of what's happening until the last few paragraphs, but it was clever and a good introduction overall into the style of stories in here.

Two people's world is slowly dissolving around them, as if their surroundings are no longer rendered. An NPC inadvertently does something that gives him an identity. Now he's not sure if he wants to be NPC or playable It was an interesting bit about the awareness of videogame characters--not just the main guys, but even the NPCs.

It got a bit confusing in the middle when there were so many former self's being referenced. Man respawns over and over into different people. Who knew a pixelated game could be so freaking creepy? Apparently this author did because fuck I got creeped out. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books.

Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. You are standing in a room filled with books, faced with a difficult decision. It is a groundbreaking anthology of short stories from award-winning writers and game-industry titans who have embarked on a quest to explore what happens when video games and science fiction collide. From text-based adventures to first-person shooters, dungeon crawlers to horror games, these twenty-six stories play with our notion of what video games can be—and what they can become—in smart and singular ways.

Valente, Andy Weir, and Hugh Howey. Your inventory includes keys, a cell phone, and a wallet. What would you like to do? About the Author Daniel H. Wilson Daniel H. He has published more than a dozen scientific papers, holds four patents, and has written eight books. In , Wilson hosted The Works , a television series on the History Channel that uncovered the science behind everyday stuff.

He lives and writes in Portland, Oregon. Find him on Twitter danielwilsonPDX.

Video Game Reviews

Adams is also the editor and publisher of the digital magazines Lightspeed and Nightmare and is a producer for Wired. Trends in the video game industry offer insights into broader changes happening around the world. When broken down by region, the fastest growing market for games is the Asia-Pacific, accounting for nearly half of global gaming revenues, with China alone constituting one quarter. Of the various platforms on which to play games, the fastest growing sector is in mobile gaming, as people increasingly rely on their phones as their main computing device, especially in emerging markets.

Video games have evolved alongside the computers that run them, giving rise to an increasingly international and complex market of products. The earliest games were hardwired into integrated circuit boards and installed into bulky arcade machines. This costly production left the industry dominated by industry giants, mostly from the United States and Japan, and offered a limited number of choices to players. Companies dedicated solely to game development popped up around the world, designing products for standard platforms like the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sony PlayStation.

The gaming industry has become a truly global enterprise. For example, in French developer Arkane Studios released its hit science fiction game, Prey.