• Media & Pop Culture Book Review

    Power Play: How Video Games Can Save the World

    My Review: I liked the idea for this book, loved it even, what a shame that it ended up being mediocre. I love reading academic studies, especially ones centered on video games being a lifelong gamer myself. This book had so much potential but it ended up falling flat. A mix of useless writing and “gamification” projects that had nothing to do with video games. A good portion of the book is dedicated to some truly inspiring projects, most notably Sandra Day O’Connor’s iCivics and the cancer-fighting Re-Mission. The chapter about the potential of VR and how it is already being used for a variety of non-entertainment purposes was fascinating.…

  • Graphic Novel Review

    In Real Life

    My Review: Anda is an average teenager, a geek girl that plays and develops games. After stepping into her first MMORPG she quickly makes friends with another lady gamer and starts to take on jobs that have them griefing gold farmers in exchange for real-world cash. Things change when Anda befriends one of these poor Chinese farmers and gets to know the person on the other side of her computer screen. This is a story about compassion, of seeing a world much greater than our own small bubbles and caring for the issues that others face. This is a graphic novel paved with all the best of intentions that I…

  • Media & Pop Culture Book Review

    A Parent’s Guide to Video Games

    My Review: A Parent’s Guide to Video Games provides a simple guide about video games and the countless studies surrounding gaming and its social and cultural influences. The book covers a number of controversial topics that are common concerns for parents unfamiliar with video games. Included are topics such as the effects that gaming has on health and social skills, educational advantages and disadvantages to gaming, violence, and sexism. Kowert approaches all of these topics, even the extremely difficult ones, with a professional and neutral tone. Kowert does a good job at making strong arguments for the positive aspects of video gameplay for children and adolescents while also acknowledging known…