Book review: Game Masters eBook (iPad)

4 mins read

Our Australian readers might be aware that there’s a funky thing happening down in Melbourne at the moment. Game Masters is an exhibition that is a real love letter to the history and culture of gaming.

Its attracted some high-profile support, too, with the likes of Tim Schafer and Warren Spector coming along to do presentations and the like. It’s still running, and I suggest anyone who finds themselves in Melbourne to go and have a look, but for those that miss out, it’s still possible to buy an eBook for the iPad that is based around the same content as the event.

This book, too, is a real trip down memory lane. It covers off most of the important companies and games that have had a real impact on the games industry over the years. The writing is tight and engaging, and the book makes really good use of the digital medium with video integration to offer interviews with the industry veterans involved in the event. It’s a big download – nearly 1GB (for a book!) but those videos are chunky and full of insights and help to make the material more engaging overall.

There’s a lot of raw content (well over 100 pages worth), and while a lot of it reads like those museum tour guide books – ie. It’s a very simplified walk through and experts on gaming will learn little new outside of those video interviews – it’s presented nicely and still manages to be engaging.

Is there a cooler guy in gaming right now?

I just wish that it was optimised better on the iPad. The eBook uses the same panoramic landscape page format as the physical copy of the book (I assume), and that means it doesn’t fit properly on the screen. I had to keep pinching and zooming in to read the text comfortably, and then moving the screen around to try and turn the pages.

And, perhaps because of the size of the download, it doesn’t run very well on the iPad. I have the newest generation iPad, and it was a clunky process to turn pages. I would hate to be running this on an earlier-generation device.

The other issue with this book is the simple fact that this book was designed to complement the physical exhibition. As such, although it all makes perfectly logical sense by itself, you can’t help but think to yourself as you’re reading the book that it’s slightly lacking context without having seen the exhibition yourself.

But these are minor criticisms. The point of a book is to provide information, and the information that’s in the Game Masters book is most definitely interesting reading. The addition of video features, especially, makes this a worthwhile purchase for anyone that cares about their games.

– Matt S

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