Death by Video Game: Danger, Pleasure, and Obsession on the Virtual Frontline

Death by Video Game: Danger, Pleasure, and Obsession on the Virtual Frontline

by Simon Parkin


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"The finest book on video games yet. Simon Parkin thinks like a critic, conjures like a novelist, and writes like an artist at the height of his powers—which, in fact, he is." —Tom Bissell, author of Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter

On January 31, 2012, a twenty-three-year-old student was found dead at his keyboard in an internet café while the video game he had been playing for three days straight continued to flash on the screen in front of him.

Trying to reconstruct what had happened that night, investigative journalist Simon Parkin would discover that there have been numerous other incidents of "death by video game." 

And so begins a journey that takes Parkin around the world in search of answers: What is it about video games that inspires such tremendous acts of endurance and obsession? Why do we so thoroughly lose our sense of time and reality within this medium? How in the world can people play them . . . to death?

In Death by Video Game, Parkin examines the medical evidence and talks to the experts to determine what may be happening, and introduces us to the players and game developers at the frontline of virtual extremism: the New York surgeon attempting to break the Donkey Kong world record . . . the Minecraft player three years into an epic journey toward the edge of the game's vast virtual world . . . the German hacker who risked prison to discover the secrets behind Half-Life 2 . . .

Riveting and wildly entertaining, Death by Video Game will change the way we think about our virtual playgrounds as it investigates what it is about them that often proves compelling, comforting, and irresistible to the human mind—except for when it’s not.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612196206
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
Publication date: 06/13/2017
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 1,171,578
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

SIMON PARKIN is a journalist whose writing has appeared in, Harper's Magazine, the Guardian, ESPN, and a number of other publications. Death by Video Game is his first book.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

1 Chronoslip 3

2 Success 23

3 Lost in the System 47

4 Discovery 69

5 Belonging 87

6 Evil 105

7 Empathy 127

8 Hiding Place 147

9 Mystery 165

10 Healing 191

11 Survival 211

12 Utopia 229

Acknowledgements 245

Index 247

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