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Book Review: The Game Widow by Wedy Kays

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Gamers have every right to fear over a book titled The Game Widow. After countless sensationalized media reports blasting the industry, Wendy Kays’ tale of being left alone while her husband played video games seems almost too much to take…

… yet it’s actually not what you think.

Kays isn’t slamming the industry, stating it will turn people into ravenous killers, create child rapists, or put people into an early grave. No, that’s what uneducated major news organizations are for. The focus in Widow is to help people (*gasp*) understand the industry, and why the games are so involving.

Kays does a fantastic job of laying out the basics, including taking non-players through the halls of a fake massively multi-player online game called “Forever World.” Her examples use clear English, not gaming language that would be lost on mainstream readers. She details a relationship between a couple who play the game, and how it affects their lives, for better or worse.

Various other topics, such as game addiction, video game sales, and how to handle a spouse who plays too much are covered extensively. Despite being a brisk 117 pages (not including all of the back-end items), this is a valuable piece for those looking to take some control over a gaming habit that’s controlling lives.

Surprisingly, even though Kays has no credentials as a psychologist or any type of therapist, her advice tends to make more sense than many of those featured on TV when gaming becomes a hot topic. Say, writing on a calendar to track how much time a person is playing to let them see how it’s affecting everything. Kays even deals with how to live with a gamer who won’t stop playing, not to mention clear explanations of why they won’t quit to spend time elsewhere.

With a plethora of books on the market aimed at scaring people on the outside, Game Widow is a pleasant change of pace. While it’s not on for the gaming crowd, it’s one for the gaming crowd to hand off to someone who doesn’t play to let them in on what it is that draws gamers back for repeat sessions. Clear, well written, and easy to grasp, Game Widow is easy to recommend.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.