For the Win

 
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For the Win

Playing games online all day, every day sounds like fun, doesn’t it? But for young people packed into smoky internet cafes in Singapore, Shenzen, and Mumbai, it’s a matter of survival.

People have discovered how to turn online “gold coins” and “magic gems” into real money, so the biggest online game worlds have larger economies than many nations, and youngsters in less-developed countries are recruited as “gold farmers,” playing online in teams and turning over their winnings to the bosses who hold their return-home tickets.

But what if the gold farmers organized, banded together for better working conditions? How does a kid from LA wind up in China to help the gold farmers unionize? And what happens when the big businesses who own the big online worlds strike back?

Meet young teens in China, India, and Malaysia who work as gold farmers to feed their families, who face violence from police and rival bosses when they’d rather go to school, who risk their lives to make a difference. This page-turner looks big, but reads fast, a techno-thriller that could happen tomorrow or might be happening today! 480 pages

Contributed by:Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA

*****

Like to play video games?  Wei-Dong, Mala, Big Sister Nor and Matthew do too and they're highly skilled players with armies of followers playing against the lesser talents around the world.  Fast forward in time to view the world shrinking through internet play and games expanding in value as players with less skill are willing to pay someone to play for them to win the virtual treasure.

The monitor flickers and Mala steps forward to wield her prowess at the keyboard and takes on a lustful superior who lurks at closing time in an internet cafe in India.  She'll pay a price for her well aimed kicks.  Across continents Matthew defies his former bosses in China and  in Los Angeles Wei-Dong slips away from his parents on the way to "prison" otherwise known as a boarding school that will stop all his nonsense.

Workers around the world toil at the low-wage jobs with no benefits and little personal power until the bold, risk taking gamers decide to step forward and bring the system ...the world wide, big corporation system... down.  

Can they do it?  Do they really know enough?  Can their gaming skills really give them enough leverage to pull it off?

This is a blend of social justice, women's rights, corporate abuse and the admiration for a bunch of kids who are top shelf gamers.  Action combined with thoughtfulness and the surging desire for power in young people come together to create a well-paced, entertaining read with enough education on world economics to leave you feeling like you just got your eyes opened and just a hint of a gauntlet has been thrown down before you.

Recommended by:  Barb

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