Wednesday, May 5, 2010

When is a Game Not A Game?

IMAGINE. You are playing an online game. You have an online piece - an avatar. There are other players in this game but nobody know who the other players are. They only know the other "pieces" in the game. When your piece dies in the game, you are eliminated from it and do not play anymore. Now suppose another player's avatar gives you a warning and you remind yourself you are only playing a game. Then you realize the warning seems to be getting out of the scope of the game - the warning seems to be aimed at you and not your avatar.

This is what happens to Jason Lind in this book - Fortuna by Michael R. Stevens. If you want to know more about the author and his book you might want to check out this web page - .

This book focuses a lot of attention on a popular and addictive online game called Fortuna. The game is set in Renaissance Florence - does this spark your interest? In this game the person interacts with others through his character / avatar. When Jason Lind is introduced to the game he has no clue how much it will affect his life. He is a college student / computer science major who works for a professor at the college.

The story starts with the warning that Jason gets. Then is shifts back in time - right before he gets involved in the game and moves forward. It introduces us to Jason as a "person" and how he becomes involved in the game.

Now ... there are apparent warning signs about the game that should make one think twice about getting involved. One of these warning signs is that you have to put in your SS to join the game. Also there seems to be a lot of money involved in getting into the game. But this does not stop Jason from getting into the game.

As he gets more into the game other things in his life start to suffer - his studies, his job, and his finances. The costs he racks up playing the game drains his pocketbook and he needs a huge sum of money to continue to play the game. Almost sounds typical to any obsession - doesn't it.

Finally, Jason quits school and his campus job to get a job working for his dad's old company. This is when we fall back some more in time - to when his dad was "still" alive. He was an important part to this computer company. (By the way, Jason goes by his mother's last name. His father's last name is Fibonacci. Does that say anything to you?) Well, before he became involved with the company, he was a distinguished professor at Jason's university. He left the university and helped build the company into the giant it had become.

We learn his father gets somewhat disillusioned with how the "company" is progressing. He takes some steps to meet the goals set by his partners so they can make more money. At the same time he builds in a mechanism that will siphon off some of the funds. In order to do this he has to make some other alliances to keep his family safe. His "life" ends when he has an "accident" in a new expensive car he got from the company partners in appreciation for the work he has done to get them a larger money stream.

Finally the story shifts back to when Jason is working for his dad's old company. He has been given the job to check out the computer system his dad built. Nobody else has been able to fix a problem it has. As he looks into it, he realizes his father built in some mechanisms to prevent disclosure and removal of his fixes. He also realizes what this mechanism is doing.

Now ... to tell anymore of the story would not do it any justice. There would be so much you would miss. And of course there would be things you might pick up on that I did not. That is one of the fun things about being a reader - you experience things from your own personal view. SO CHECK IT OUT!!!


Anonymous said...

My 18 year old son started reading the book. He likes the game playing aspect of the book.

JenningsJunk said...

Indulged myself and stayed up late last night to finish this one - soooooooo worth it!!!! Your review was spot on!! I think even a "non" gamer would enjoy it and be able to comfortably read it :-)