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It’s very rare that a book resounds with me emotionally enough to put tears in my eyes and my heart in my throat. This is one of those books—and it’s about video games. It takes place in two time periods: first, at the beginning of the gaming boom, when ideas like open world and 3-D were little more than dreams; then in the present day, when a software bug with human roots threatens the release of Black Arts’ newest title. For fans of Ready Player One and anyone who remembers the thrill of holding your first joystick, controller, or Game Boy and feeling like you were about to embark on something legendary.
Are you a nerd? The kind of person who has stayed up all hours to finish a video game, who engages in passionate debates about fantasy versus sci-fi, and who feels like no one really understands expect the people who play those games with you? Then this is your book. It’s a coming of age story for the video game designer, the D&D player, & the comic book collector.
When Russell joins Black Arts games, brainchild of two visionary designers who were once his closest friends, he reunites with an eccentric crew of nerds hacking the frontiers of both technology and entertainment. In part, he's finally given up chasing the conventional path that has always seemed just out of reach. But mostly, he needs to know what happened to Simon, his strangest and most gifted friend, who died under mysterious circumstances soon after Black Arts' breakout hit.
As the company's revolutionary next-gen game is threatened by a software glitch, Russell finds himself in a race to save his job, Black Arts' legacy, and the people he has grown to care about. The deeper Russell digs, the more dangerous the glitch appears -- and soon, Russell comes to realize there's much more is at stake than just one software company's bottom line.
About the Author
Austin Grossman is a video game design consultant and the author of You and Soon I Will Be Invincible, which was nominated for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. His writing has appeared in Granta, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. He lives in Berkeley, California.
"A razor-sharp comedy ... a smart meditation on the nature of gaming. Grossman, who has designed video games, brings experience but more importantly abundant affection to describing this world--the welcome recognition of the one Dungeon and Dragons enthusiast for another, the surreal happiness that comes from mastery, the semi-ironic clinging to juvenile aesthetics."—Boston Globe
"Some of the most startling, acute writing on video games yet essayed."—Tom Bissell, Harper's
"You confirms Grossman's status as a major talent. Grossman isn't just chronicling the rise and fall of a company, or of a character, or even an industry. Rather, he uses YOU as a tool to prise open the mystical center of what art is, what games are, what fun is, and how they all mix together. A novel that both uplifts and entertains, and reframes the world we live in and the things we do in it. Easily one of the best books I've read this year."—Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
"Combines videogames, advanced technology, and suspense into one crazy pageturner."—Kansas City Star
"A celebration of videogames and their creators."—Booklist, starred review