As someone who never was able to quite handle the leap from Pac-Man to Ms. Pac-Man, I am indebted to Michael Kane for writing Game Boys and explaining how far video gaming has come in the years since . . . and just how far it might go. He'll be the first person I consult when I'm assigned to cover the World Series of Counter-Strike. (Jim Caple, ESPN.com senior writer and author of The Devil Wears Pinstripes)
Game Boys made me actually want to sit down and watch people play video games against each other. And cheer. And boo. I can't think of a stronger endorsement than that. (Will Leitch, author of God Save The Fan and editor of Deadspin.com.)
Game Boys is a fascinating, rail-gun ride through the world of competitive gaming. With electric prose and engaging authority, Kane skillfully captures all the drama, angst and geekery that drove a niche of passionate gamers to forge a subculture, command the respect of corporations and claw their way into the big time. (Aaron Ruby, co-author of Smartbomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment, and Big Bucks in the Videogame Revolution)
Competitive videogaming is ready for prime time. In this excellent book, Michael Kane masterfully draws on the emotion, excitement and backstage drama that helped e- sports hit the major leagues. Whether you play video games or not, Kane will convince you they could be the main event of the 21st century. A fascinating read. (Matt Mason, author of The Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture is Reinventing Capitalism)
Readers of a certain generation are surely thinking, video games hit the big time? Get serious. But their children or grandchildren know what the author is talking about. Today's video games can be as exciting as movies; they can require as much skill as more traditional sports; and they are very big business. The author follows two video-gaming teams, Team 3D and CompLexity, as they battle for supremacy in the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL), which was formed in 1997. For a sport that many consider to be marginal (if a sport at all), gaming is highly competitive and full of players who are just as idiosyncratic, determined, and flashy as any other pro athlete. Kane does a nice job of catching us up in the excitement-no easy task, as we are reading a book about people who play a game on a computer screen. Like any good sports book, this one is about the game and the personalities in equal measure.
New York Post entertainment features writer Kane tracks the world of competitive video gaming as it moves out of Internet cafes and into the high-stakes world of televised grudge matches. Tracking the roughly two-year journey of a pair of leading teams, the author goes into overdrive making sure we know that they're not the antisocial losers of popular myth, but he doesn't create much interest around them. The book follows two five-man teams that specialize in a first-person shooter game called Counter-Strike, played with religious fervor by hardcore gamers who look down on mere mortals playing Halo and Doom. Starting off in 2005 at the Cyberathelete Professional League (CPL) winter championship in Dallas, Kane tracks the team players through a series of poorly organized matches held in hotel ballrooms. The players resemble pro athletes with their coaches, training sessions, reviews of old games-even, occasionally, salaries. Leading Team 3D gets impressive sponsorship money due to their stylish marketability and savvy young leader Craig Levine, while up-and-comers CompLexity are funded entirely by their leader, lawyer Jason Lake, who has poured nearly $400,000 into the venture. The contrast is there, but it's hardly The Bad News Bears. A dispiriting spectacle gets goosed only slightly when media behemoth DirecTV starts taking an interest and makes noise about turning the matches into the next X Games or televised poker. That development thrills many of the gamers, who would love nothing more than a smidgen of respectability and a steadier income. The author occasionally wrings some human interest from one of his subjects, particularly Cuban-American Danny "fRoD" Montaner, a kid withpersonality and a deadly sniper's eye. However, Kane's background in splashy weekend features shows in the book's overly glib prose, which is adequate in short bursts but tiresome over the long haul. Makes reading about multiplayer first-person shooter video gaming just as boring as reading in-depth accounts of any other sport. Agent: Stacey Glick/Dystel & Goderich Literary Management