Tag Archives: Gaming

Warcross by Marie Lu (review by Tasha M. ’20)

Warcross (Warcross, #1)Warcross by Marie Lu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Marie Lu’s Warcross at first seems like an overdone virtual reality dystopia, but provides a somewhat original take on the topic. Emika Chen, a hacker barely able to pay rent, shocks the world by “glitching” into the international tournament of Warcross, the most popular virtual reality video game. The creator of Warcross enters her into the tournament to gain inside information on someone trying to infiltrate the systems.

Lu’s future world is believable and immersive. The description was well-mixed with plot that was engaging and moved at a decent pace; however, the ending confused me and seemed like it should have been the first chapter of the sequel.

The characters were incredibly well-developed, especially Emika. She comes off as a strong, knowledgeable protagonist, but later on, her vulnerable side begins to show. While I would have liked to know more about the supporting characters, they had unique personalities. Also worth noting is the characters’ diversity: along with the Asian-American protagonist, Warcross features a disabled character, a gay character, and a Hispanic character. My only criticism is that the romance seemed forced.

All in all, Warcross is an enjoyable but not spectacular read, especially for fans of YA or science fiction. – Tasha M. ’20

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You by Austin Grossman (review by Tasha M. ’20)

YouYou by Austin Grossman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Austin Grossman’s You promises a fresh perspective on video games, with emphasis on how they are created and how they affect players, but ultimately fails to deliver. Russell, the protagonist, begins working as a game designer and attempts to find a bug in the code by playing through other games by the company, Black Arts Games. The writing is mostly descriptions of Russell’s experiences with the games, and almost nothing significant happens in the book’s reality.

The storyline started out a little far-fetched and rapidly devolved into a baffling wandering between several video games (each of which had enough description to bore but not enough to fully immerse the reader), Russell’s imagining of the characters in the video games, and Russell’s attempt to fix the bug. Also disorienting are the many sudden time and point-of-view shifts, and the incredibly blurred distinctions between the games, Russell’s imagination, and reality. The characterization was not much better. The reader learns almost nothing about Russell; the supporting characters, while very cookie-cutter, at least had definable personality traits.

In short, You spectacularly failed to live up to the high expectations it established, leaving me disappointed and at a loss as to what the purpose was. – Tasha M. ’20

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (review by Andrew R.’17)

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ready Player One has the amusing (if unlikely) premise of a massive ’80s cultural revival in the year 2044 following the death of billionaire video game designer James Halliday. In a famine-stricken vision of future America, Halliday’s will is the last hope for many of the country’s hopeful gamers: it bestows the designer’s entire fortune upon the first person to complete a series of ’80s-themed riddles set in the OASIS, a sprawling virtual-reality videogame that redefines MMORPGs. For a future-world teenager, intrepid fortune-hunter Wade Watts spends a surprising amount of time obsessing over minutiae of ’80s culture that seem more likely to appeal to the author himself. (Case in point: the president of the OASIS is Cline’s fellow science-fiction novelist Cory Doctorow.) My only qualm with this book is that, while the OASIS is constantly glorified, it’s clear that the collapse of the real world is a direct result of the citizenry’s lack of regard for anything outside their alternate-reality visors. One character hints at this, but, of course, he immediately recants his views and never brings them up again. Still, Ready Player One is a fun diversion from the real world—for the author as well as the reader. – Andrew R. ’17

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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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Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (review by Karen T. ’16)

Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1)Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a futuristic world on the brink of an alien invasion, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is accepted into the prestigious Battle School, an orbiting military school dedicated to training soldiers and leaders for the impending third alien invasion. As Ender accelerates through his studies, he encounters both friends and enemies, all of whom leave indelible marks on Ender’s life. Although the plot tends toward repetitive monotony towards the middle of the book, the vivid characterization of the protagonist and the logic behind his brilliant tactics save the story from becoming insipid. While those who eschew the details of politics and technology may find this novel dull, Ender’s Game will captivate fans of science fiction or military novels due to its complex characters and tactics, as well as its detailed writing style. – Karen T. ’16

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