The release of media theorist McKenzie Wark's new book 'Gamer theory' is many things at once. If you're interested in the growth of a new medium, it's a media academic's major guide to the key issues. If you're games-savvy, you are just as likely to recoil in horror at Wark's analyses. To proclaim that he has simply expanded on his previous work, 'A hacker manifesto', ignores what gamer theory is—a study in the catastrophe of reading culture. It's an intensely difficult-to-navigate work but ultimately rewarding for those up to the challenge of the game before them.