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When video games kill time, and even kill players

"No, video games are not mere time-wasters. This label, so often and gleefully applied, implies a certain idleness on their part. Rather, they are time-killers: they destroy time."

Christian Nutt

August 11, 2015

2 Min Read

"No, video games are not mere time-wasters. This label, so often and gleefully applied, implies a certain idleness on their part. Rather, they are time-killers: they destroy time. And they are accomplished killers, often leaving little trace of their handiwork; we remain oblivious to time’s passing."

- Simon Parkin, writing about games' capacity to warp our perception of time

In an extract from his new book, Death by Video Game, writer (and occasional Gamasutra contributor) Simon Parkin writes about cases where players have literally died -- which have popped up across Asian internet cafes and been widely reported -- but also how games seem to suck time away from players, drawing on news reports and new interviews, both from a variety of sources.

The extract functions as a meditation on just what effect games have on players, and for developers, puts them in touch with the effects their work can have -- both extreme and more conventional, and both good and bad.

In describing the book to The Guardian, Parkin had this to say: "The past few years I’ve been doing a fair bit of reporting about video games, and what particularly interests me are the human stories in and around them – both about the people playing them, who do interesting things, and those about the community built up around games. I just really wanted to formalise that into a book. I wanted to ask the question: why do people give so much of themselves to this medium in particular?"

You can read the full extract at The Guardian; in the U.S. Amazon is offering a digital download of the book from this Thursday. A physical version is being published in the UK.

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