“For a sport that many consider to be marginal (if a sport at all), gaming is highly competitive and full of players who are just as idiosyncratic, determined, and flashy as any other pro athlete. Kane does a nice job of catching us up in the excitement—no easy task, as we are reading a book about people who play a game on a computer screen. Like any good sports book, this one is about the game and the personalities in equal measure.”
“GAME BOYS made me actually want to sit down and watch people play video games against each other. And cheer. And boo. I can't think of a stronger endorsement than that.”
-- Will Leitch, author of God Save The Fan and editor of Deadspin.com.
Over 100 million Americans play video games recreationally, logging billions of hours at the controls, and spending big money on the latest consoles, equipment, and games. The 2007 release of the game Halo 3 brought in $170 million on its opening day, making it the biggest selling entertainment product ever (including movies and music). In GAME BOYS: Professional Videogaming’s Rise from the Basement to the Big Time (Viking/On-Sale date: June 23, 2008/ ISBN: 978-0-670-01896-3/$24.95), author Michael Kane chronicles the journey of elite videogaming teams–those who get paid to play—as they try to break into the sports mainstream, earning the fame and money that they’ve always dreamed about.
In GAME BOYS, Team 3D and Team CompLexity, the top two American“clans” competing in the game CounterStrike, are in the throes of a rivalry as deep as the Yankees vs. Red Sox. Team 3D are the wonder boys, the team with the #1 ranking, the corporate sponsorships, and the ruthless owner who poaches players from other teams to win. CompLexity are the underdogs chasing the top spot, loyal to their coach who, in the absence of a big sponsor, has spent close to $400,000 of his own money to keep the team alive. Through these players, most of which are barely in their twenties, Kane chronicles a year of tournaments,“boot camp” practices, and home visits to find out what a life devoted to gaming is really like.
Kane has unprecedented access to the players and coaches that make up the gaming world, during a watershed moment in the business of gaming. He reports with great detail about Team 3D’s coach, Craig Levine, working with Direct TV to put gaming on television, and even selling Team CompLexity as the underdog that everyone will root for. It’s a classic sports matchup, engrossing to the last shot of the buzzer.
Like a pixilated Friday Night Lights meets Moneyball, GAME BOYS paints an engrossing picture of an industry on the cusp of big things, and the individual players for whom gaming is serious business.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Kane is an entertainment features writer for the New York Post. Prior to his position at the Post, Kane was a sports writer and editor at the Denver Post, where he covered a wide range of subjects, from the NBA and Major League Baseball to offbeat sports like bicycle polo and ultimate Frisbee. His writing has appeared in ESPN Magazine, and Sport Magazine.
Professional Videogaming’s Rise from the Basement to the Big Time
Viking /On-sale date: June 23, 2008
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