For the Win by Cory Doctorow (review by Andrew R. ’17)

For the WinFor the Win by Cory Doctorow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On the one hand, For the Win reads like a video game ad. Cory Doctorow describes, with childlike delight, his ideas for massive multi-player online role-playing games with titles like “Svartalfheim Warriors” and “Zombie Mecha” in such painstaking detail that the reader has to wonder why he chose a career as a novelist instead of a game designer. But then the other face of the book shows itself, the professional, educational side that balances out Doctorow’s nerdy fantasies with lessons on economics, of all things. At first, pairing unions and finance with video games seems an odd strategy, but when Doctorow starts drawing parallels between the two, the offline world he’s created is fleshed out as fully as his online ones. There are characters, mostly impoverished gold farmers and corrupt businessmen; there’s a plot, even if it only appears between video game descriptions and economics lessons. But the real meat of the book, the part that Cory Doctorow fans old and new will recognize as part of the author’s style, has nothing to do with the characters or plot. Rather, all the substance lies in novel’s empowering message, its inspiring moral about equality, freedom—and video games. Andrew R. ’17

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