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Press Start to Play by Daniel H. Wilson

Press Start to Play (2015)

by Daniel H. Wilson (Editor), John Joseph Adams (Editor)

Other authors: Charlie Jane Anders (Contributor), Chris Avellone (Contributor), Jessica Barber (Contributor), Marguerite K. Bennett (Contributor), Holly Black (Contributor)21 more, T.C. Boyle (Contributor), Ernest Cline (Foreword), Cory Doctorow (Contributor), Nicole Feldringer (Contributor), Austin Grossman (Contributor), Yoon Ha Lee (Contributor), Hugh Howey (Contributor), David Barr Kirtley (Contributor), Chris Kluwe (Contributor), Marc Laidlaw (Contributor), Ken Liu (Contributor), S.R. Mastrantone (Contributor), Seanan McGuire (Contributor), Micky Neilson (Contributor), Rhianna Pratchett (Contributor), Hiroshi Sakurazaka (Contributor), Catherynne M. Valente (Contributor), Robin Wasserman (Contributor), Andy Weir (Contributor), Django Wexler (Contributor), Charles Yu (Contributor)

Series: InCryptid ("Survival Horror")

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127694,816 (3.5)12

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Eh. There were a few good stories in here (and the Seanan McGuire, which was good but not new to me), but most of them ranged from Ew to Huh? I still can't figure out what was going on with the graying out one - the one that was all about memory, and two college students clinging to one another as the world disappears...and then suddenly they're old, and a (medical?) voice is declaring something a success. And who they were is depicted on a screen. Were they being downloaded? Uploaded? Either way it doesn't seem as much of a success as all that. That one, and several others, just left me saying "What?". There were a lot that were just literary blowing things up, or nastier - I read them and wiped them out of my memory as fast as I could. Overall, I did not enjoy reading this; the few good stories were either not strong enough to stand out in my mind, had major holes (the one about making the garden - how the heck did she figure all of that out? Was she really bored enough to keep going back time after time and figuring out ways around how she died last time?), or were simply overwhelmed by the tide of ick. I need to remember that John Joseph Adams and I do _not_ have similar tastes. He keeps doing anthologies with fascinating themes, and I don't like the stories he picks. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Apr 4, 2018 |
Strange stuff. Some of these shorts are not bad. And some...well, I think the American Psychiatric Association could recognize an entire new sub discipline to deal with the more bizarre entries. I do not game beyond casual games (Birds, word games, puzzles, etc), and my sons have tried to convince me that many video games have plots (uh...sure), so I'm sure the reference frame helps to make sense of the weirder stories. ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
I thought this collection of sci-fi stories arranged on a theme of video/computer games was pretty good. I was familiar with some with a couple of the authors (e.g., Andy Weir and Hugh Howey). There were two 5-star reads for me here - All of the People in Your Party Have Died, about a teacher and her relationship with the computer lab teacher and her obsession with the game on school computers that all the kids play, and Select Character, about a stay-at-home mom who starts playing her husband's favorite war game at home secretly, and goes about playing it in completely different way. ( )
  LisaMorr | Jul 8, 2016 |
From the back of the book: You are standing in a room filled with books, faced with a difficult decision. A distinctive cover catches your eye. It is a groundbreaking anthology of short stories from award-winning writers and game-industry titans who have embarked on a quest to explore what happens when video games and science fiction collide.

I bought this collection for a friend for Christmas and almost didn’t give it to him because I really wanted it for myself. With authors like Andy Weir, Seanan McGuire, Holly Black, Cory Doctorow, Hugh Howey and a forward by Ernest Cline, how could I not be intrigued? Not to mention the video game theme. And the blurb is right, the bold colors and simple font do make the cover distinctive.

I’ve said it before (and I’ll probably say it every time I review a short story anthology), collections are hard to review because each story is often so different. And I’m not the type to sit down and write something about each story, especially as this collection has 26 stories.

In short, I’ll just say I absolutely loved this collection. I liked some stories more than others, but I enjoyed them all! Some of my favorites were:

by Chris Avellone – someone is playing an old text-based game, but there appears to be a game within the game. Or perhaps one of those games is real? Or neither? If you’ve read this, I’m interested on your take.

NPC by Charles Yu – this is a funny little take on what it feels like to go from being a NPC (non-player character) in a game, to a main character with a name and personality.

Save Me Plz by David Barr Kirtley – what happens when someone figures out life is a game and can be cheated and changed the way video games can.

The Relive Box by T.C. Boyle – if you could buy a device that would allow you to play, replay, fast forward, pause and rewind any part of your past (but not alter it!), would you? I think this was an especially telling piece about how many of us might end up “living” if such a thing were possible.

Creation Screen by Rhianna Pratchett – a look at what video game characters feel and think while we create them, tweaking them to perfection, and what they think about the world around them.

A friend on Instagram asked me if I thought this collection was suitable for non-gamers. Now, I consider myself a casual gamer – we have a lot of video game systems in the house, and while I play a lot less than I used to, I still love games – but this book isn’t just about stories based on or in video games. Like most sci-fi, there are a lot of deep questions here, and a lot of “what if” situations that made me think about how I would react to certain situations, or what humanity might do with certain technology. I would say that if you’re not a gamer, as long as you’re interested in sci-fi, you’ll enjoy these stories. Picking up on all the gaming aspects is a bonus! ( )
  MillieHennessy | Jan 13, 2016 |
I was sucked in by the vibrant colors of the cover and the promise of fictional video game nostalgia, I'll admit.
I enjoyed "God Mode," "NPC." "Respawn" reminded me a little of Claire North's excellent Touch, and I liked "Desert Walk" and "Rat Catcher's Yellows" wasn't bad. So the collection was going along at an okay clip. "1UP" was a fun little chase of a story.
Some of the magic of video games seems to get sucked out, dried out on a table, and then pinned into a memory book like a pixelated butterfly in fiction form, especially when the story dwells just a little too long on the description, the whimsy, and cotton-headed stupor video games can induce. It's a little like being the sober person at a raging, drink-soaked party. Maybe it's the experience of reading story after story after story about video games that you begin to feel like the kid left to the side, relegated to just watching the other kids play the video games, never getting your own chance. Which is exactly what the next story, "Survival Horror" feels like, and is about, in fact. The sense of drama, of tension, is all watered down and it takes a real effort to care about what's going to happen, even though you've been told you should care, because the stakes are high. Or so you're told.
"REAL" was another good story, though, with a bit more at stake, without beating you over the head with it. I thought "Roguelike" was a cute story, buried amongst the next pile, and "Twarrior" wasn't bad, nor was "Select Character," but I think by that point (those were the last two stories in the collection) I was just looking to get out more than anything. ( )
  mhanlon | Oct 9, 2015 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wilson, Daniel H.Editorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adams, John JosephEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Anders, Charlie JaneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Avellone, ChrisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barber, JessicaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bennett, Marguerite K.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Black, HollyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boyle, T.C.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cline, ErnestForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Doctorow, CoryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Feldringer, NicoleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Grossman, AustinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ha Lee, YoonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Howey, HughContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kirtley, David BarrContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kluwe, ChrisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Laidlaw, MarcContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Liu, KenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mastrantone, S.R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McGuire, SeananContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Neilson, MickyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pratchett, RhiannaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sakurazaka, HiroshiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Valente, Catherynne M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wasserman, RobinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Weir, AndyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wexler, DjangoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yu, CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Since their invention about half a century ago, video games have come to play a vital role in modern human civilization. (Foreword)
I'm an editor through and through; I eat, sleep, and breathe prose fiction and am a relentless consumer of narrative entertainment. (Introduction)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A groundbreaking anthology of short stories from award-winning writers and game-industry titans who have embarked on a quest to explore what happens when video games and science fiction collide. From text-based adventures to first-person shooters, dungeon crawlers to horror games, these twenty-six stories play with our notion of what video games can be-and what they can become-in smart and singular ways.… (more)

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