I discovered Ms. Leigh Alexander when she appeared on one of the E3 podcasts at Giant Bomb. I found her perspective fascinating in a sea of men. I was still too new to this world to understand why this led to so much hate and abuse that she hasn’t been back on. (At least that’s how I understand what happened) Since then I’ve followed her on twitter (and even made an ass of myself with a tweet to her) and I generally enjoy her reading of the industry and games. From her pieces, she seems to be slightly older than me, but we’re roughly from the same era in video games and so it’s a voice that speaks with the same cultural background and that’s always neat.
This book is in the gonzo style of journalism. If you haven’t heard of that term, perhaps you’ve heard of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? It was supposed to be a newspaper article about a race in the desert; it ended up a tale of Hunter S. Thompson and his lawyer doing drugs in Las Vegas. Essentially, gonzo journalism is using an event as a jumping off point to learn more about the author. Tim Rogers, who makes an appearance in this book, is famous for this style. He has a review of Super Mario Brothers 3 that is more about creating the perfect video game and living in Japan than it really is about SMB3. You either tend to love or hate this style – at least based on the types of comments his articles tend to get.
So this book is ostensibly about GDC, the Games Developer Conference, but it’s really about Ms. Leigh Alexander and the industry and her place in it. I think if you know that going in, you’ll be more likely to appreciate it (subject to how much you like her writing). Having interviewed some of my favorite creators at Comic-Con (Chew, Vol. 1: Taster’s Choice creators John Layman ( https://youtu.be/yjO7J3MY4wk ) and Rob Guillory ( https://youtu.be/UpI6DgmYgFw ) ) I can definitely sympathize with her nervousness at interviewing the Castlevania creator. There’s this need to keep the fan(boying|girling) to minimum while also making it something different than everyone else has asked this person.
Recommended if you enjoy the new games journalism.