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Games' Most Wanted

The Top 10 Book of Players, Pawns, and Power-Ups

Rome, Ben H.

Publication Year: 2013

Ever thought about capturing a queen, amassing real estate gold, or striking down a zombie or two? For centuries, games have stimulated the imagination. They have divided, and they have united. They have driven our competitive spirit and indulged our fancy. Live an entire lifetime in a few rolls of the dice. Push a few buttons and sustain perfect health. Essentially, games have and will continue to provide people worldwide a break from the everyday grind.

With more than forty chapters, Games' Most Wanted whisks readers away into the fantasyland of games. Learn more about board games that have been passed through generations, video games that predict the future, and card games that have brought down the house. Ben H. Rome and Chris Hussey also reveal the culture behind the entertainment-the codes of conduct, the language, the conventions, and the workshops-proving that leisure can be a lifestyle. Something they won't reveal: how to rescue the princess. Regardless of the hand you're dealt, Games' Most Wanted is sure to cure any boredom.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Other Works in the Series, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-9

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

First, many thanks to my writing partner, Chris, for tackling such a project. One random e-mail, a few phone calls, and four years later, and the book that almost wasn’t, now is. Of course, more thanks go to Kathryn Owens at Potomac Books, who approached me with an idea in the summer of...

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Introduction

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pp. xi-xv

There’s no historical starting point that pinpoints when games showed up in the human experience. Oh, sure, every game we play has an origin. But the concept, the idea of gaming goes back into the mists of history. Games, and the act of gaming, are an essential part of human nature....

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1. Games from Long Ago

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pp. 1-8

The roots of go extend back four thousand years in China, making it one of the oldest surviving board games. According to legend, it all began when an emperor dissatisfied with his son’s irreverent behavior had one of the imperial generals invent a game to teach the boy tactics,...

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2. Playing to Win

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pp. 9-16

When a group of people sit down at a table and break out a game, each one of them may have their own reason to be there. Here are just a few of the reasons some people like to play games, or possibly how to play a game to get what you want....

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3. They Come in All Shapes and Sizes

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pp. 17-22

There are a number of different ways to categorize games. For our purposes, we’re going to cover in the forthcoming pages the ten most common types of games that you’ll see. Note that many games may fall into more than one category....

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4. Pioneers of Gaming

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pp. 23-31

You can never advance in any field if you don’t have pioneers. They are the innovators. The trendsetters. Pioneers are the ones who see the direction everyone is taking and decide to take the less traveled road. The people in the following list have made a difference in a...

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5. Trailblazers

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pp. 32-40

The company that would produce Dungeons & Dragons began in 1973 with Gary Gygax and Don Kaye. Upon Kaye’s death in 1975, the company dissolved and reformed as TSR Hobbies with Gygax as its president/CEO. Gygax worked alongside Brian and Kevin Blume. It was that year that...

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6. Classic Board-dom

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pp. 41-48

Most players today are familiar with the electronic version of this Milton Bradley game, be it the tabletop setup (memorialized by the commercial’s tagline delivered by a frustrated boy, “You sank my battleship!”) or various apps and social games online. Few realize that Battleship...

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7. It’s in the Cards

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pp. 49-58

Though we all accept and enjoy the standard deck of fifty-two playing cards with little question, the history of playing cards and how they came into being is long and filled with mystery. It is commonly believed that cards originated in China, slowly migrating westward, but...

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8. The Smallest Players

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pp. 59-66

If there is anything children love, it’s games. Just as with adults, games occupy their minds, provide a challenge, and give them a structured environment to have fun. But if you want to give your child some game choices beyond something with a video screen, and that...

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9. Girls Gone Gaming

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pp. 67-75

It’s getting tougher and tougher to say simply, “This is a game for boys,” or “This game is strictly for girls.” The reason for this is that both genders are finding enjoyment in games that are targeted toward one particular sex. Nevertheless, there are still numerous games...

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10. Stepping Up to the Table

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pp. 76-83

Gamers come in all shapes, sizes, and behaviors. If you ever sit down at a table to play a role-playing game, you are very likely to encounter at least one, if not more, of these types of gamers. These terms of endearment speak to playing style or personality quirks that...

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11. The Code

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pp. 84-91

Every gaming table has different customs and traditions for the players around it. Some follow the laws of common sense, some do not. Violation of these customs usually doesn’t mean a ban from the table, but it certainly may net the offending player a few...

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12. Socially Acceptable

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pp. 92-99

Everyone loves a party. Games have been a staple of these social gatherings for centuries, in varying forms, and today they’re taken into the online realm of social networking. So whether you’re getting together with friends for a fun night of food and activities...

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13. Gaming on the Silver Screen

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pp. 100-108

The story lines of many games, whether video or not, have proved fertile ground for development when it comes to both the small and the big screen. Conversely, some of the most popular movies and books of the twentieth century have inspired the development of numerous games....

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14. Games from the Star Wars Universe

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pp. 109-117

Many movie franchises out there have had games made of them. Arguably, none of them have as much influence as George Lucas’s Star Wars universe. Star Wars has been the subject of numerous board and video games ever since the silver screen debut...

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15. Repeating the Past

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pp. 118-125

At its core, historical war gaming is recreational gaming where a strategic military operation or a real military situation is simulated. Whether unfolding on the dining room table or computer screen, there is an intrinsic appeal to playing out a historical scenario, if...

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16. Comic Relief

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pp. 126-134

Big muscles, skimpy suits, and over-the-top villains. These are all staples of the comic book scene. Of course, in the modern era there are plenty of dark and brooding heroes as well. Superheroes have been a constant presence in American culture. Here is a list of some...

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17. The Workshop of Games

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pp. 135-142

The Games Workshop company is widely known for a number of products, but their biggest claim to fame is their incredibly popular miniature war games Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer 40,000. Both of these games have legions of fans worldwide...

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18. Giant, Stompy Robots

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pp. 143-149

If there is any element in pop culture that has stuck in the minds of many in the geek set, it is the idea of giant battle robots. One of the most popular and enduring games in this genre has been the game BattleTech. Originally published by FASA in 1984 as BattleDroids,...

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19. Apocalypse Coming

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pp. 150-158

Though many futuristic settings can paint an idyllic or sinister view of the days yet to come, there is one genre that has always been hanging on the fringes, surging in popularity every few years or so. With the media focusing on the fear of the apocalypse as supposedly...

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20. Arcadian Rhythms

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pp. 159-166

At the dawn of video games, there were constructs that looked like large cabinets, hosting a combination of a monitor, joystick(s), and buttons. These archaic monstrosities featured the likes of superheroes, racing cars, aircraft, and even futuristic robots, and could...

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21. Came with a Bang, Died with a Whimper

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pp. 167-174

For every successful game system like the PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo, there are at least four or five clunkers. The last thirty years have seen quite a few spectacular failures. The console and computer systems included in this chapter are considered by gamers...

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22. How Nintendo Changed the Future

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pp. 175-183

Nintendo is one of the most recognizable video game companies in the world and the third most valuable listed company in Japan. By the end of 2010, the company sold more than 565 million hardware units and 3.4 billion software units. But did you know that...

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23. Iconography

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pp. 184-191

When someone mentions a particular character or game, most times a particular image or icon comes to the mind’s eye. Over the last few decades of gaming, particular characters, logos, or icons stand out as the most recognizable in the gaming industry...

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24. Guiding Games

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pp. 192-198

Created in 1994, the Entertainment Software Rating Board has become the standard for commercially produced video games entering the marketplace. It is a voluntary industry-wide standard for age ratings and has been successful in scope while having...

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25. Fizzling Electrons

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pp. 199-205

Whether due to poor gameplay, bad graphics, bad taste, or corporate or developer politics, there are inevitably games released every year that are considered stinkers. A few, however, hold up as the “gold standard” of bad, to which yearly clunkers are compared. Many gamers...

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26. Tough Nuts to Crack

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pp. 206-212

Every video game out there has at least one difficult spot that players need to get past. It could be a complex level, a mind-bending problem to solve, a difficult course to navigate, or a tough boss to beat. Whatever the issue, it is part of the gaming experience and...

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27. We Still Believe . . .

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pp. 213-218

Urban myths and legends are part of the fabric of our lives. There are anecdotes and stories that we’ve heard or relayed to others in a never-ending chain, usually beginning with “I heard of this guy . . .” or “I knew this guy who had a friend who . . .” Common examples...

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28. Gamer Stuff

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pp. 219-224

Every hobby and profession has tools of the trade. Whether it is pen and paper or a fully decked-out console system, gamers use a variety of tools to find success in their gaming endeavors. While many tools found in a gamer’s lair are obvious, such as dice or a...

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29. Your Friendly FPS

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pp. 225-231

It is important to know what each button and trigger does. Many FPS games have similar button functionality with slight differences. Not being aware of the changes can make for some awkward battlefield moments, such as trying to toss a grenade in...

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30. Shifting Gears

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pp. 232-237

It is easy to think “racing games” involve cars of some type speeding around some form of track. While many racing games across the history of video games do conform to that expectation, there is a lot more variety to racing games than some might assume. From...

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31. Fantastic Electrons

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pp. 238-244

Computerized fantasy role-playing debuted in the early 1980s and has been a strong staple of electronic gaming ever since. Computerized RPGs comprise a majority of video games produced over the last few decades. Their staying power and popularity is due...

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32. WoWing Your Friends

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pp. 245-252

With over ten million subscribers, World of Warcraft is the most popular MMORPG in the world, and for many reasons, so it’s certainly worth a try if you need a gaming fix and can’t seem to find what you’re looking for elsewhere. If you’re just starting out, here...

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33. Future Tense

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pp. 253-260

Many find futuristic settings to be an interesting exercise in imagination. In many games set in the future, the world is portrayed as a war-torn environment full of aliens, corrupt corporations, and/or space combat. Sci-fi gaming is a bit more relatable than...

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34. Conventions: Gamer Paradise

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pp. 261-269

Like any subculture, gamers like to be among their own kind every once in a while. Conventions are where this happens, sometimes on a massive scale. And you might think nongamers look down their nose at these gatherings, but the exact opposite is true...

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35. Playing Games for Fun and Profit

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pp. 270-275

As mentioned elsewhere, Scrabble is still a popular board game and lends itself easily to clubs and tournaments. What shocks many first-timers at these highly competitive events is the sheer obscurity of the words used and how high scores can get. Tournament rules...

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36. It Takes a Village

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pp. 276-283

Games do not exist in a vacuum. If there are fans of games, then those fans will create communities and support networks to not only stay in touch, but further the game or keep an eye on the company that produces the game. The following are some of the more...

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37. Games, But Not

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pp. 284-292

To many gamers, no artists better personify the fantasy genre near and dear to so many Dungeons & Dragons players’ hearts than Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo. These two extraordinary artists’ visions put to canvas helped to shape many gamers’ perception...

References

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pp. 293-295

Index

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pp. 296-310

About the Authors

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pp. 311-328


E-ISBN-13: 9781597977241
E-ISBN-10: 1597977241
Print-ISBN-13: 9781597977234
Print-ISBN-10: 1597977233

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2013

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