Video games today are trading in excess of two hundred billion dollars and are used (played by two billion people). These are frightfully large numbers, but what if we told you that these are not the main features of the gaming industry? If we told you that attention on this world must be focused on something else? Towards culture, for example?
The author, Lorenzo Mosna, teaches History and theory of video games at the Civic Schools of Milan, is a video game critic, he writes (and wrote) video games on many newspapers. Homo ludens, man is a being made (also) to play and entertain himself. Historian Johan Huizinga supported him in the late 1930s. Play has always played a fundamental role in shaping cultures and societies, so much so that some games have been able to go beyond the boundaries of peoples and overcome linguistic barriers . But not only: the playful aspects have accompanied, in some cases, catalyzed, scientific discoveries and innovations.
This happened also at the dawn of computer science: in the laboratories where computers were designed, the first video games were born , and with them a new tool capable of creating a gaming experience mediated by a screen and a controller. In other words, a medium was born that in just half a century has been able to reach every continent , often displacing and breaking public opinion. The story that has transformed the intuition of a bunch of bored nerds into a multimillion-dollar industry is one of those stories punctuated by successes and failures, deaths and rebirths, dusty garages and visions, joys and sorrows.
That of video games is often submerged, unknown or ignored , sometimes at the edge of the urban legend. A story that deserves to be told and that the author does impeccably . Only giving a quick glance to the index of the book we can understand how much precision and fastidiousness is behind each chapter in a narrative construction that started in the early days of video games, and comes to recount and sports and the opening of the International Olympic Committee , passing through fundamental chapters such as role-playing games, shooters, the sports genre and the much-discussed life simulator.
Among the one hundred and thirty pages of Mosna there is space for all of us, for our old passions, for our eternal video game parafilias and for the latest discoveries, which maybe we follow as simple enthusiasts eager to stay up to date on everything or as parents / controllers . A book to read without ifs and buts and to keep always on hand, because the references and the need to resume some pages carefully explained will be inevitable .