There was a huge clearance at a very popular mall in Helsinki some weeks ago. I didn’t find anything except two books. The first one was about games and how they shape you and your personality. The another, in which I am not going to go so deeply in, was about astronomy. But I will tell you a bit about this book about gaming. I have read the book. It was written in Finnish and I don’t know if it is going to be translated or is translated. Anyways, I will write about it.
The book is written by Aleksandr Manzos. I hadn’t heard of him earlier and this was first book of his that I have read. I haven’t even read any of his articles. There is a note on the back of this book that introduces him as a journalist and especially some sort of a gaming expert. He has written many books. The book basically tells a story of how video games have made an effect to Manzos throughout his life.
The name, “Pelattu elämä – miten pelit tekivät minusta minut”, can be translated, a bit freely thought, into “how gaming formed me and/or changed my life”. There is a kind of a wordplay here also that cannot be easily translated. “Pelattu” means “played” and “pilattu” means “spoiled”, so he has changed that one letter right there in that word and he is making a slight joke there.
The book begins with a story about Fallout. You might know this role-playing game. So you get to choose your gender. And Manzos makes very clear that he likes to pick a female character instead of a male one. He then explains how he likes to play as a female. He likes to pretend that he is a she. He continues to talk about this and explains that this doesn’t affect his sexual orientation and he says he is a straight person in that way. He just likes sometimes to be a cute person just like the picture besides his note in the book that introduces him shows.
There are lots of topics that are dealt with in this book. There is lots of thought about the characters in games and how you in a way empathize with them. Manzos writes about video games in the 90s. He is born in 1988 so he is about the same age as I am and there are lots of same influences in games that I can share with him. He talks about Final Fantasy VII and how it brought FF series to European gamers. There is lots of history that he explains in this book. The reader gets to think about worlds of different games from shmups to roleplaying and also to Tetris and Mass Effect.
I have to admit that it was a bit awkward to first read about how Manzos felt about playing as a female character. It was a sort of thing that you have to process a bit. I enjoyed reading this book. I think this writer has many interesting thoughts about games and personality all in all. I kind of have to give him props for his attitude on his personality. I am a bit lame about this matter. I have enjoyed playing as a macho male character in many games. Maybe that isn’t always how people want to present themselves. And it is now crystal clear to me that he is truthful in a way that he even gets to talk about sexuality. This is a sensitive subject. It is easy to misunderstand someone that has opinions in this matter. There are so many people in the world and I think they are all unique.
There are lots of books about games and gaming available worldwide. I have a privilege to live in a country in which language this kind of a material gets published. There are also many journalists that also have a privilege to write about games here in Finland. One other writer whose books I really like is Juho Kuorikoski and he has written many good books. As I don’t know if this particular book is going to be released in English I don’t know what this blog post has to give to an international English speaking game fan. I wanted to write something about this book. It was an interesting read.