Jun 7

Tom Baker reviews two books on the game industry

Tom Baker (Chiba-ken, 1989-91) is a staff writer for http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/. He usually writes for DYWeekend, the paper’s arts and leisure section. You can follow Tom’s blog at tokyotombaker.wordpress.com.

Recently he rerviewed two books on the video game business, “Fun Inc” and “Nintendo Magic.” Here’s an excerpt:

Even if you aren’t into video games, you may already be into video games. A major theme of two new books on the subject is that game technology is now so omnipresent that even people who don’t consider themselves gamers are using it.

“Games have long been one of the world’s most important engines for computing innovation–along with, more recently, the mobile phone,” writes British journalist Tom Chatfield in Fun Inc.

“It’s largely thanks to the ever-evolving ambitions of game designers that modern computers have a DVD drive, a graphics card, decent sound capability, a staggering amount of RAM, a large colour monitor, and so on.”

User interface is one area in which game developers are especially driven to improve. People may put up with hard-to-use accounting software because they need it for work, but no one has to play a video game.

“For a long time, we’ve made things that are fundamentally useless,” Nintendo President Satoru Iwata is quoted as saying in Nintendo Magic, by Japanese journalist Osamu Inoue. “People won’t endure inconvenience that they don’t have to endure. They won’t read your instruction manual. If something is hard to understand, it’s entirely the maker’s fault. If they can’t figure out a videogame in five minutes…that’s the end of it.”

Read the rest of the review here.

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