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Intensely Focused

I'm not obsessed, I'm just intensely focued.

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Home Improvement: Undead Edition
Charlaine Harris, Toni L.P. Kelner
Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume I
Arthur Conan Doyle

It's Not What You Know, it's Who You Know

You - Austin Grossman

I think Grossman attempts to address the "as you know, Bob" problem by making his protagonist almost completely ignorant of the gaming industry. But he's out of work, it turns out he doesn't like law or couldn't cut it, I don't remember. And the friends he took a programming class with once almost a decade ago are now the heads of a major gaming company so he asks them for a job and they give him one even though he's ignorant of the industry (He either hasn't programmed or hasn't played a video game in 9 years)and was a mediocre programmer at best. It was a low level job so it's irritating but I could deal with that.


Each of the department heads gives an explanation of what it is they actually do (as you know, Bob). I agree that readers probably need some of that information, but I think the exposition could have been handled much better. Especially if Russell already knew some of it and, say, thought about what department x did. Clumsy, yes, but it wouldn't make him seem completely incompetent.


Then some of the major players leave the company and this new guy is made head of the department even though he hasn't been there very long and still has to ask everybody incredibly basic questions about how to do his job. Which is why I spent the rest of the book resenting the hell out of him and wondering why everyone in the department who had been there for any real length of time didn't immediately quit when incompetent friend of the heads of the company was promoted over them. For example, this is a man who works in the video game industry and has never heard of E3 (granted, E3 hadn't been around nearly as long when the book takes place).

Then again, it appears he's not the only incompetent one. Everyone else at E3 apparently went big and flashy which came as a total surprise to the studio. I don't know if the studio or their corporate overlords were responsible for that one but somebody in marketing dropped the ball.


The video game franchise itself sounds like a really interesting concept. The same four characters span a large number of games that go from fantasy to far out in outer space. I do see a couple problems though. One is that I think the games would have to be released in chronological order. Russell plays them in chronological order but that's after they've been released for years. Because what happens in one game affects what happens in another I think any player would have to always play a later game than the one before or else you'd create a contradictory timeline.


My other irritation are that the classes are warrior, wizard (mage), thief (rogue) and princess. One of these things is not like the others. To be fair, at the time the first game was released having a female playable character at all would have been very progressive.


Unfortunately, the four video game characters were not interesting nor was the plot itself which essentially boiled down to hunting for a bug in the code.


The realization/moral at the end is that you can't really have total immersion in a game because you're still you and you bring your own problems/prejudices/preferences along when you play a game. Which...yes. Because to do otherwise would require you to become the character and no longer be able to distinguish fantasy from reality and generally that's considered a bad thing.