Review: Lost in a Good Game — Pete Etchels

Genre: Non-Fiction / Videogames
Publisher: Icon Books
ISBN: 9781785784811
Edition: Audiobook
Page count: 320
Release Date: 19-06-2021

Blurb:

Media coverage of video games – and, increasingly ‘screen time’ – is overwhelmingly negative and alarmist. Apparently, they are the unequivocal source of many societal ills. But what does science actually have to say about the effects that playing them can have on us?

In Lost in a Good Game, psychologist Pete Echells takes us on a journey through that scientific data and research, as well as his own past experiences with video games, which helped him cope in the aftermath of a tragedy.

His story reveals that, really, our worries are unfounded – and that in playing, studying and living through them we can understand what it means to be human.

Lost in a good game - cover

Although the premise of the book is “Why we play video games and what they can do for us“, I felt like this is not exactly what this book was about. A lot of the content was concerned with research on videogames and most notably an entire chapter about how current research methods are flawed and cause videogames to be put into a bad light, most notably linking them to acts of aggression, such as school shootings and murder.

Having said that, the book was enjoyable, but maybe exactly because I wasn’t expecting it to touch research on videogames so much. It has given me a very good view of how research is conducted and how hard it is to explain human behaviour through research and how quickly we can become biased to look for outcomes in the data that support our own beliefs. In other words, most research conducted will always be flawed in some way. Some very concerning examples were given about this as well.

The book seems to hang somewhere in between a light autobiography, insights in research methods and well, videogames themselves. Still, I was constantly left with the feeling that videogames were being pressed to the background in favour of discussing research methods and specifically to target a few people who are against videogames to point out their flawed logic. What I was really missing was: Why we play videogames and what they can do for us. I feel that when you use this subtitle for a book, the reader would think that this is going to be the subject of the book.

I’m glad I gave this book a read and I love the insights I gained about research, but if I had known beforehand just how much time would be spent talking about research on videogames and research methods in general, I would’ve probably picked another read. Still, this is a good book and I would recommend everyone to give it a try if you’re interested in research about videogames.

Cover: 🌟🌟🌟
Writing style: 🌟🌟🌟
Content: 🌟🌟🌟
Originality: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Reading Voice: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟

Happy Reading!

Jeffrey

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