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Game Widow    by Wendy Kays order for
Game Widow
by Wendy Kays
Order:  USA  Can
Synergy, 2008 (2008)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In Game Widow, Wendy Kays (whose husband is a game designer) takes a balanced look at the videogame industry, the game development process, and the addiction controversy. She tells us that 'Before you decide that video games are evil or that our schools should be transformed into cyber cafes, you need to understand why games are so compelling that real life has trouble competing', and proceeds to help us gain that understanding. Her presentation is often humorous, as in a chapter entitled Why Am I Losing Out to an Elf?

Kays explains the Glue that makes games successful, and how people identify with their game avatars' successes and failures and develop strong virtual relationships with other players. Of modern games, she says that 'Many are lived instead of played.' She addresses the perceived and real risks of gaming, and advises that 'The best indicator of gaming addiction is your sense of discomfort and worry about the changes and behavior you see in your gamer.' She describes How Video Games are Made and where the industry is heading.

Wendy Kays also talks about techniques that worked in her own relationship with her gamer husband. She discusses how to give children other challenges in their lives than gaming. And she explains the Game Rating System, and how to dig out information on games that kids want to play. If you have any concern about time spent gaming (your own or that of a partner or child) that takes away from other important aspects of a balanced life, then you really should read Game Widow.

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