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November 30, 2012

Gamer Gift Guide: Raising the Stakes

Our first book for the gamer gift guide was William Sims Bainbridge’s The Warcraft Civilization. The second book is T.L. Taylor’s Raising the Stakes: E-Sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming. This post will feature an excerpt from the book:

“It is safe to say that all players, amateur and casual included, are engaged with both embodiment and system mastery. Even if you are just sitting on your sofa you will be working to get your body in synch with the game controller, coordinating your senses and the input. You’ll also from even the earliest training levels be learning about the system and how to play to win. If you were to go head-to-head against a pro they would certainly outshine you in these areas but the one you would likely feel most trounced by was their acute sense of tactics and strategy.

This is a particularly interesting category to try and understand for the more casual player because for those of us who are not professional we may not even be able to see the nuance and skill of the pro…

Pro players will have, over hours and hours of practice and competition time, built up arsenals of moves and strategies. Sometimes these are formalized by teams as set patterns that get called out during a match, not unlike traditional sports teams who have well-practiced playbooks they draw from. Other times it is simply a vast unarticulated internal catalog of tactics that have become so naturalized they are initiated without thinking. This naturalization is typically a sign of real skill, that the time lapse between recognition of a situation and skilled response is a split-second.”

Do you recognize the signs of a natural gamer in a friend? Maybe a career in Major League Gaming is in their future. Raising the Stakes is the perfect book for a gamer wanting to learn more about the history of pro-gaming, the larger scope of professional gaming in society, and exactly what skills sets a pro-gamer apart from your average gamer (hint: it’s not just tactical skills). A copy of the standard contract between a pro-gamer and a gaming club, which is included at the end of the book, also provides valuable insight into what a pro-gamer agrees to after joining a club.

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