As We See It

It’s in the game

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Meet Thane.

Author Tom Bissell’s new book, Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter (Pantheon, $23), is an impassioned exploration of an art form given little critical appraisal. In 2007-08, Bissell spent a few months in Vegas as a fellow at the Black Mountain Institute. Was he gaming much then? “I played quite a bit in Vegas, actually,” says Bissell, who now lives in the Pacific Northwest. “I played a ton of Mass Effect and BioShock and Rock Band. Lots of Rock Band parties at Chez Bissell. I also played Rainbow Six Vegas 2 only because I lived in Vegas.” In Chapter 5 he ponders that game while touring recession-ravaged Vegas a few years later: “Driving around 2009 Las Vegas made the game’s casino gunfights and the taking of UNLV seem slightly less unimaginable.”

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