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Game Widow: 12/17/08

A game widow (or widower) is someone who isn't a gamer but has a significant other who is. Game Widow by Wendy Kays is a handbook to help loved ones understand the lure of gaming.

I am not a game widow. I'm more of a lapsed gamer. I have found other hobbies to fill my time but I still enjoy watching my husband and children play. I'm more of a gaming mentor to my son than an active participant. Since I'm straddling the line between gamer and widow, I was curious about the book.

Kays starts of by describing the appeal of video games. She then looks at video games as an addiction and questions the danger of video game addiction. Her discussion of video games and addiction isn't scare mongering. While her research does point towards some extreme cases of addiction it also shows that the problem correlates with other forms of addiction. Video games by themselves aren't addicting but can be an addiction to someone prone to addiction. Kays also examines the video game industry inside and out. Her conclusion is that the industry is in need of restructuring due to it's own "still in the garage " mentality.

For the game widows and widowers out there, the two most important chapters are the last two. Chapter five, "What can I do? " lays out a strategy for discerning the degree of the problem (if there is one) and ways of coping. She also gives advice for times when it may be time to leave a relationship if the gaming addiction is accompanied by abuse. Of course not all gamers are spouses or lovers; they are also our children. Chapter five also includes parental advice. Chapter six has ways of learning about video game content and ratings without having to play them. While these sites are a starting point, I'd like to see more active participation from parents.

Game Widow is 118 pages long, with a few extra pages of end notes and bibliography. It's a quick, interesting and informative book. It was refreshing to read a recently published non-fiction book with properly documented citations. If you are a gamer or know a gamer, get yourself a copy of Game Widow.

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