9-2 | Internet Spaceships Are Serious Business: An EVE Online Reader

Book Review

Internet Spaceships Are Serious Business: An EVE Online Reader

Marcus Carter, Kelly Bergstrom, and Dar-ryl Woodford, eds.
Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. Introduction, contributors, and index. 230 pp. $22.95 paper. ISBN: 978081669908

by Matthew Wysocki

First Paragraph:

EVE Online is a game I wish I played. The reasons that I do not are numerous but Internet Spaceships Are Serious Business highlights one of the most crucial: it is a game space that appears actually to dis-courage participation. It has a steep learn-ing curve, requires a large commitment of time from participants, and has frequent and brutal sanctions against failure. The editors even go so far as to claim that the game “scream[s] ‘don’t play me’ as a new user” because if “a video game should always be fun, then EVE Online isn’t a very good video game” (p. xi). Perhaps that is why, although EVE Online was released by CCP Games to the public over thirteen years ago, it has not received nearly the academic scrutiny many other Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG) such as World of Warcraft have received. And yet the fifteen essays, written by a mix of academics, developers, and players, tackle the issue of this game’s definitive and enduring appeal to a highly dedicated player base. In doing so, they additionally expand our understanding of how to conceptualize both the nature of a game and the notion of what is entailed in the activity of play.