Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review: You

I will read just about any novel a that involves video games. Frankly, the gold standard on the subject, Ready Player One by Ernie Cline, has potentially ruined the genre, simply because it is just so damn good. That doesn't mean I won't keep reading, though.

So without knowing too much about You by Austin Grossman other than something vague about video games, I was eager to read it. And jumping into a world of video game development set in Boston in the '90s, I was intrigued. 

And yet somehow, I found that it took me more than a week to read. I don't normally read that slowly, except when a book can't hold my attention. I was rooting for this one all along, but it just didn't do it for me.

The biggest flaw in this book was the concept that gave it its title. Every once in a while, the reader is treated to a section written in second person ("you") describing the play of the video game. I really like the idea of this, because video games are usually about immersing yourself in a world (sights, sounds, actions, feelings, etc) enough to make you feel like you're really there. But in the book, I felt less immersed in the world than rushed through it. The narrator, Russell, is the one playing through the games, but I felt less like I was looking over his shoulder and more like he was telling me about it after the fact. Add to the fact that occasionally the second person reads like it's from the point of view of yet another character, the deceased genius behind the video game company, and I was really lost. Without these second-person interludes, this book would have been much, much stronger.

If you enjoy video games, then this would be a fun but not earth-shattering read. If you're not already a gamer, this is not going to make you one, and frankly, might just confuse you.

No comments:

Post a Comment