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Press Start to Play: An Anthology edited by Wilson and Adams

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 Press Start to Play

Press Start to Play: An Anthology
Edited by Daniel H. Wilson and John Joseph Adams, foreword by Ernest Cline

Vintage Books

We were never designed to live the lives we do nowadays—stuck in cubicles all day instead of out hunting and gathering, fighting for our very survival as our ancestors once did. Modern humans are in desperate need to exorcise their “evolutionary demons,” and what better method to do so than by playing video games?

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“. . . once you press start to play. It’s the struggle that counts.”

In Press Start to Play, editors Wilson and Adams have collected twenty-six short stories centered on the premise that we need video games to survive as much as they need us to exist. From prophetic visions of unsettling Matrix-like realities in Wilson’s God Mode and Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s Respawn, to the heroic potential of saving actual lives through game skills found in Holly Black’s 1Up and David Barr Kirtley’s Save Me Plz, the reader is taken on a emotional roller coaster ride of ups and downs. The stories range from the humorous (Marc Laidlaw’s Roguelike) to the deeply disturbing (All of the People in Your Party Have Died by Robin Wasserman and Desert Walk by S.R. Mastrantone) and some even attempt to elevate our social consciousness, demonstrating how our gaming actions can affect others for good or ill (Anda’s Game by Cory Doctorow and The Relive Box by T.C. Boyle).

Readers will enjoy intriguing fictional worlds in this anthology. Gamers will see themselves mirrored in many of the main characters who fight, slash and whack their way on toward victory—or not. After all, there is no guarantee of a happy ending once you press start to play. It’s the struggle that counts.

Reviewer: Cindy A. Matthews