Breakout: Pilgrim in the Microworld by David Sudnow

$ 4.95

Release Date: 2/26/20
224 pages
ISBN: 978-1-940535-23-4

Just as the video game console market was about to crash into the New Mexico desert in 1983, professor and sociologist David Sudnow was unearthing the secrets of “eye, mind, and the essence of video skill” through an exploration of Atari’s Breakout, one of the earliest hits of the arcade world.

Originally released under the title Pilgrim in the Microworld, Sudnow’s groundbreaking longform criticism of a single game predates the rise of game studies by decades. While its earliest critics often scorned the idea of a serious book about an object of play, the book’s modern readers remain fascinated by an obsessive, brilliant, and often hilarious quest to learn to play Breakout just as one would learn the piano.

Featuring a new foreword and freshly edited text, Breakout makes a perfect addition to Boss Fight’s lineup of critical, historical, and personal looks at single video games. We’re proud to restore this classic to print and share with new audiences Sudnow’s wild pilgrimage into the limitless microworld of play.

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David Sudnow is the author of Passing On: The Social Organization of Dying and the piano theory book Ways of the Hand, for which he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. Until his passing in 2007, Sudnow taught piano from his own popular Sudnow Piano Method to thousands of students throughout the world.


“Breakout: Pilgrim in the Microworld is a fascinating text and one of the strongest entries Boss Fight has brought to the bookshelf so far.” - Unwinnable

“An engaging personal experience with just enough social commentary to reassure parents that all those quarters may not be lost in vain.” - Kirkus Reviews

Exhilarating […] whether or not you have ever played a video game.” - The San Francisco Chronicle

Brilliant […] a most serious study, portending the inevitable changes in the way we view our world.” - Booklist

“What a read.” - Harrison G. Pink

Caleb J Ross video review

Excerpt: Kotaku

More Reviews: Goodreads

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