The SmartMonsters Bookstore
SmartMonsters' games are not for everyone. We write for
adults with fairly rich educational and cultural backgrounds.
We assume our players like to read, and know how to type. We don't
write for kids. If this sounds like you, welcome!
to read our essay, "Can a Game be Literature?"
The works listed here have all been used in some way as
our flagship game.
why buy through us?
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Books About Online Communities
Communities in Cyberspace, Smith, et al, eds., Routledge 1998
Community Building on the Web: Secret Strategies for Successful Online Communities, Kim, Peachpit 2000
Conversation and Community: Discourse in a Social MUD, Cherny, Cambridge 1999
Cyberville: Clicks, Culture, and the Creation of an Online Town, Horn, Warner 1998
Designing Virtual Worlds, Richard A. Bartle, New Riders 2003
Exodus to the Virtual World: How Online Fun Is Changing Reality, Edward Castronova, Palgrave Macmillan 2008
MMOs from the Inside Out: The History, Design, Fun, and Art of Massively-multiplayer Online Role-playing Games, Richard A. Bartle, Apress 2015
My Tiny Life: Crime and Passion in a Virtual World, Dibbell, Owl Books 1999
Play Money: Or, How I Quit My Day Job and Made Millions Trading Virtual Loot, Julian Dibbell, Basic Books 2007
Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games, Edward Castronova, University Of Chicago Press 2006
© 1999 - 2019 SmartMonsters, Inc. All Rights are Reserved.
"Two of the most common approaches [to academic study of] adventure games seem to be apologetics and trivialization. Both generally fail to grasp the intrinsic qualities of the genre, because they both privilege the aesthetic ideals of another genre, that of narrative literature, typically the novel. For the apologists, adventure games may one day -- when their Cervantes or Dickens comes along -- reach their true potential, produce works of literary value that rival the current narrative masterpieces, and claim their place in the canon. For the trivialists, this will never happen; adventure games are games, they cannot possibly be taken seriously as literature nor attain the level of sophistication of a good novel. Although the trivialists are right -- adventure games will never become good novels -- they are also making an irrelevant point, because adventure games are not novels at all. The adventure game is an artistic genre of its own, a unique aesthetic field of possibilities, which must be judged on its own terms. And while the apologists certainly are wrong, in that the games will never be considered good novels, they are right in insisting that the genre may improve and eventually turn out something rich and wonderful. This may or may not happen, so the only way to understand the genre is to study the various works that already exist and how they are played." -- Espen J. Aarseth, Cybertext ( info)