With loads of clever marketing and decent amount of great games, the Sony PlayStation has, in fact, taken over the world. At the very least, the worldÂ’s living rooms. And apart from making videogames playing acceptable for adults, its coming has somehow justified every twenty-something maleÂ’s deep devotion to Sensible Soccer on the Megadrive, or Elite on the BBC Micro or four-player Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles down the arcade or countless other games of their youth.
Because, you see, games are proper culture now; theyÂ’re valid. Not that anyone who spent weeks of their life getting all 120 stars in Super Mario 64 needs telling. ItÂ’s just that the world at large (outside of Japan, whose game creators and fictional stars get equal megastar billing) has taken a few years to cotton on. Steven Poole has probably been waiting for this realisation for years, because his Trigger Happy is the first book in ages to treat videogames with the respect they deserve.
At the very least, PooleÂ’s volume has a great-looking cover. Okay, so there are a few long words in his part history, part sociological study and part unwrapping of the games industry and games themselves, but he eloquently manages to explain just why and how games work, and why their popularity is so vast. Next time you get a dogging for playing too much PlayStation, or you drunkenly ramble about your best FIFA goals, have some of the points raised in this fascinating book ready as ammunition.