The Book

I’ve mentioned The Book in passing a few times, but now all the contracts are signed, the work’s starting to arrive and the deadline is looming, I thought it worth actually starting to talk about it a little more.

When I say “Talk” I mean “Hype”, of course.

The idea’s really quite simple – in fact, so simple that most people we tell it to are having trouble processing it.

It’s an anthology of games writing, curated by comrade Rossignol and Myself.

In short: Games writers, writing about games. There’s been collection of essays on games before, but these have originated with developers, academics, writers or general creatives. Which is wonderful, for what it is. This is, as far as I’m aware, the first time a number of games writers have been let off the leash to have fun. The inspiration are those anthologies of music or film writing, where there’s no real driving theme except “Here’s some of the best writing about music or films”, with no linking theme other than the identies of the writers who are doing it.

So, for us, “Here’s some of the best writing about games”. No limits, bar quality.

Our glorious corporate paymasters are the people at O’Reilly, who have a number of books about emerging (and exciting) Tech-culture pop-detrius in the pipe-line. The content will be a handful of reappropriated articles alongside newly commissioned work from some of the best writers on games in existence. One of the things that Jim and I have tried to do is try and gather together a selection of different voices on games, to show how there /are/ different voices on games. It’s an anthology which will have Stuart Campbell sitting happily next to Tom Chick next to Mathilde Remy next to… well, an array of the best writers on games in existence (As the press release will probably say).

The best games writing, with a spine on the side. Excites the hell out of me.

There is, of course, one incy-wincy problem. We still don’t have a name for it.

We know it’ll be a “THE NAME: Subtitle” format. The subtitle being something descriptive (“Games Writers on Games” “The Best New Games Writing”). But the title is being a little tricky to get. The working title on the pitch document is just one of the piece’s (AB’s Posessing Barbie, one of the things we desperately wanted to reprint), which clearly won’t go. We were playing around with “R-TYPING” for a while, before rejecting it for obvious reasons. Our brainstorming has lead to a list of millions, none of which really satisfy us.

(Recent favourites included the Curtis-inspired “The Joy Division” (Playing on Division’s meaning of argument and so debate and discourse, etc), but we don’t think naming it after the sex slavery parts of concentration camps would be a terribly popular idea with our publisher. Though I quite like “Shadowplay” too. This morning produced “THE GAMEPLAY IS GOOD”, which makes us grin)

Comments are open for suggestions, ladies and gentlemen.

Hey, where’s MY excellent suggestion, you goon?

Certainly not in the comments thread, you goon.

KG

Wordplay?

or is that too easy?

I’ll give YOU goonery, Captain Goonston!

Viewers! OBVIOUSLY the best name for this excellent book featuring me is “DROWNING KITTENS IN A BUCKET: Videogames Writers Write About Videogames”.

This is an excellent title because it’s what I tell attractive women at parties I do when they ask my occupation, since it’s less shameful than being a videogames journalist. For sanity’s sake, send messages flooding into the idiot Gillen’s comments section, emailbox, and through his living-room window wrapped around a brick, asserting the superb excellence of this title over his rubbish Joy Division-related ones that nobody will get. I know *I’d* stop in Waterstone’s and look at a book called “Drowning Kittens In A Bucket”.

I’M NOT EVEN JOKING.

Clever Wordplay!

KG

;)

You are both worse than Hitler. Cheesy puns on “play” went out in 1996, man.

Hyperbolic Onomatopoeia: Because We Like Being Big And Clever

Or perhaps…

Social Death: Why Do Paedophiles Still Get Better Press Than Gamers?

GAME MATTERS

ENCYCLOPLAYDIA

Erm… shit…

“EVERYTHING IS WRONG: Only Serious Students of Videogaming”… actually, i quite like Rev’s idea.

“Nintendo will kill our sons: and how they’re going to do it.”

Should give O’Reilly’s legal department the shits, anyway.

…do we get a royalty if ours is picked?

/b

Go as pretentious as possible. ‘Collective Commentary On The Dynamic Emergence Of Consensual Subjective Realities in Western Post Industrial Societies.’

Call it “Poncey Poncey Ponce Ponce: I’m dead pretentious, me.”

PLAYER ONE
INFINITE CREDIT
INFINITE LIVES
urm
HIGH SCORES (arg, my lobes!)
LEVEL UP
FIRST-PERSON SHOOTERS: New Games Journalism

And so on.

//\Oo/\\

Extra-Life.

Any Charlie Brooker going in?

I was coming here with the daft “CONSOLE CONSULT”, but I actually like Matt’s FIRST PERSON SHOOTERS depending whether the book continues with your standard subjective approach.

Sam: No Brooker. I considered approaching him, but we’re not paying awesome money and he’s pretty much disowned his videogame past in his current Guardian writing.

KG

Insert Coin: Videogame Journalists Are Poorly Paid.
Gamer Tag: You Are It!
WASD: And Other Letters Concerning Games
Non-Interactive Fiction: Exploringly the Lines Between Fiction And Non-Fiction In Poncy Ponce Wank

Or something less wank. I really like Jamie’s suggestion.

strange i wasnt aware charlie brooker had written about games.

Brooker was PC Zone’s star-writer for years.

KG

ah ok. i only discovered the lad with tvgohome/nathan barley.

So who IS contributing? Good people, I hope.

A bunch of the usual chancers.

Yeah, we’re pleased with the list. We’ll be talking more about it as we head towards deadline. I’m hyping it slowly. I’m sure some of the people involved will mention it themselves too.

KG

Kieron, Brooker hasn’t disowned his videogame past AT ALL. His Guardian pieces constantly casually reference videogames. He just doesn’t make a big deal of it is all, and — in my blah blah blah so humble opinion etc — that does more for the general acceptance of videogaming as a medium than a thousand boo hoo hoo love-us-we’re-really-complex essays could ever do.

There is a huge point to be made in this tangent, but it’s a tangent, so I’ll stop. And besides, I have a chapter to write.

Sorry – disown is a harder word than I should have used. What I meant is that while he mentions it, he does mock it openly in a way which I read as “Can’t believe I did that, eh?”

You’re right that his casual nods towards videogames are welcome. Just honestly didn’t think he’d be that interested.

KG

EDIT: His Videogame writing, not videogames.

KG

I like your “travel writings from imaginary desinations”. To someone who walked into a bookshop and saw the title, I thought it would be an interesting hook and much less offensive the kitten and bucket malarky.

FROM PONG TO DOOM?

WRITE-EM-UP?

LEFT-LEFT-RIGHT-RIGHT-UP-DOWN-A-B?

LOAD “” SCREEN$?

OK COMPUTER?

THE WHOLE SPECTRUM?

CHEATS, PIRATES, DONGLES AND FLOPPIES?

IT’S GAME OVER, MAN?

INSERT COIN?

HIGH SCORE TABLE?

(bah, someone already suggested the last two.)

Book About Games 2006: If it’s in the book, it’s in the book.

GILLEN
(and friends)

The Magnificent Gillen: And His Flying Machines

Thats a good contribution, I feel.

“GILLEN GILLEN GILLEN”.

“Ste Is Gay: and here’s some of his writing to prove it”

“Oh My God, I’m Thirty & I Haven’t Had A Book Published Yet: a personal history of games geeks & their obsession”

“One Hundred Years Of Solitude: what we get up to when no one will talk to us”

I wouldn’t let the publisher see the OK Computer suggestion. It’s far too likely to appeal to him. But at least it would guarantee that Alec buys the book. Hi, Alec.

OK Computer was on our long list of things we said then dismissed. See also “Arcade Fire”.

KG

I do like Graham’s WASD idea, although Travel Journalism… is just smugly self-referential enough to work.

/b

Adult Entertainment

Erm…

Is this orginal writing, or just some kind of compilation of stuff from various mags?

Tim: “The content will be a handful of reappropriated articles alongside newly commissioned work from some of the best writers on games in existence.”

So far, out of the 20 or so pieces, 2 are reprints. Three more are severe reworkings and expanions of previous pieces (One of which only appeared in French).

KG

How about THIS IS THE SORT OF THING YOU’LL LIKE: An anthology of games writing?

Yes!

If You Like This Sort Of Thing: Then You’ll Like This Sort Of Thing.

Thank goodness it’s all decided now.

GAMES: We like them and so will you.

*insert your own Deus Ex reference here*: *insert your own pointless tagline here*

TRUTH: Games are OK.

A collection of essays on videogames: Yes indeedy.

Man I’m rubbish at this. :(

SUPER GAME WRITER II TURBO: Hyper Writing

The Power Is On

another few suggestions to kill the last 10 minutes in work:

AVOIDING WORK
HOW APPROPRIATE, YOU WRITE LIKE A COW
ED – YOU’RE FIRED
DISAPPEARING (DEAD)LINES
FADE-TO-BLACK WRITER
BRUTAL DELUXE
IF ONLY YOU’D BOUGHT IT

Play, Write:

(Er, not thought of a suitable subtitle yet. I just thought that was a clever play on words, see?)

GEEKS: Read This Or Your Virtual Friends Will Disown You

how about; No, *This* Is Uncool

How about:

The Bard’s Tales
The Pros And Cons of Bump Mapping
RePlay
Scribbled on the back of CD covers
No Score Given
I-Have-No-Mouth-And-I-Must-Scream!

1upmanship.

Well, it’s not a pun on the word ‘play’.

PRETENTOBOOK: Taking Games Too Seriously

Ugh, Kieron, don’t mention “games writers” in the subtitle. Why? Because then the only people who will buy THE BOOK will be “games readers.” Don’t we also want “normal” people to buy THE BOOK? I see the games writing I do as always trying to bridge the gap between gamers and non-gamers, to appeal to the gamer at the same time as it translates games into something intelligible to the person who hasn’t yet discovered them.

I love the “travels to imaginary destinations” bit or something like it. Of course, I also like “How Appropriate, You Write Like a Cow,” and “WASD and Other Letters,” but I’m afraid those latter might not sell very many copies either.

Anyway, this has just been my 2 cents (or 1.2 pence or whatever it is these days) against ghettoizing games writing. It’s probably not as dire as I make out, but you know, when you’re on a personal crusade, things often seem more important than they actually are.

Kieron, I’ll put in a chapter of course, because I’m one of the greatest, but it will be basically how I love gaming mistranslations. Original Japanese Final Fight had the line “Leave no face unbroken!” which is forgotten in the annals of history now.

Seriously, though, if you don’t have Seanbaby, Chet or Erik Wolpaw, you’re fucking kidding yourselves and I’ll burn down your face and house.

We’re hyping, Christian. I was hardly going to say that we had a load of shit writers, were I?

Chet hates me. I cry.

KG

It sounds like a really good idea for a book, KG. It sounds like a mainlining of games journalism; some BFI books on contemporary cinema are a great indicator that merely the quality of writing can be a determinant for content.

Hey, did you review Serious Sam 2 at Eurogamer with Old Man Murray references just for little ol’ me? Woo!

No, actually. I’d already written the majority of the review. It was just an incredible co-incidence. Had me smiling to myself when you made the Old Man Murray comment.

KG

And, yes, let’s hope it is a good determinant for content :)

KG

I’m sure you’re looking of a title that appeals to not just gamers… making it too geeky will turn off potential buyers who might not be hardcore gamers.

One of the best, titled books about IT I own is “Nudist on a late shift: tales of silicon vally”. Something along those lines, that references one of the articles, or a funny moment in gaming may be ‘eye grabbing’ on a shelf.

As to _actual_ ideas I have only poor ones. Good luck.

Critical Hit

I really have to wholeheartedly agree on “travel writings from imaginary desinations”.

“All Your Journalism Are Belong to Us”

Sorry, I have to go and kill myself for saying that now. . .

P.S. I’d like to buy the man who said ‘Fade-to-Black Writer’ a country mansion and a luxury yacht

How about –

Gaming Heaven – electronic artists on artificial worlds

It should be called:

SELL YOUR GRANNY

You know it should, Gillen!

I want to call it “Nu-Skool Journalists”.

KG