Polygon Book Club- Generation Xbox

Has anybody else read this book yet?

Generation Xbox: How Videogames Invaded Hollywood

Genxbox-cover_medium

I finished it on the bus this morning I recommend it to anybody interested in the evolution of gaming from the early Eighties, and Hollywood's impact on that evolution.

Overall, the book reads like a very long blog post. It is very detailed, and sometimes annoyingly tangential. I am surprised at how many grammatical errors there are.

However, setting aside the very casual tone and grammar issues, the book is full of great stories. The theme of the book is that the video game industry has spent the past 30 years learning who it was and coming into its own, often at the expense and resistance of Hollywood. The author does a nice job connecting the historical dots of how Hollywood- the wiser and arrogant older brother- has influenced video game evolution for good and bad, as well as how video games now influence Hollywood. After a couple decades of Hollywood treating video games as nothing more than a merchandising revenue stream, Hollywood is finally starting to accept games as a story telling medium and technology sharing platform.

I feel like the author oversimplifies the decline of Hollywood, attributing it to video games without acknowledging other factors. Hollywood revenues are declining while video game revenues have been increasing. Correlation does not equal causation. I feel that movies like Avatar- a movie heavily influenced by video games- shows that American's are still hungry for quality entertainment. Just as the days of throwing out a crappy licensed game for some extra revenue are gone, so to are the days gone when American's will just go to the theater for the sake of seeing a movie. We have so much entertainment at our disposal that wasn't around 30 years ago. I can watch practically any movie on-demand, browse hundreds of channels on TV, watch 6 football games simultaneously or play a video game. And I can do all these things while surfing the web on my phone. To give video games all the credit for Hollywood's declining revenues isn't looking at the whole picture.