The evolution of the game industry and changes in the advertising landscape in recent years have led to a keen interest of marketers in using digital games for advertising purposes. However, despite the increasing interest in this marketing strategy, the potential of digital games as a medium to convey advertising messages remains unexploited.*Digital Gaming and the Advertising Landscape* explores the different ways advertising messages can be embedded within digital games. An interdisciplinary approach is used to help explain how persuasive communication works within digital games. It does so by forging new links within the area of game studies where the emphasis of this book clearly lies, while also taking up new subjects such as design theories and their relation to games as well as how this relationship may be used in a practical context.
Dan Pinchbeck University of Michigan Press, 2013 Library of Congress GV1469.35.D68P56 2013 | Dewey Decimal 794.8
In December 1993, gaming changed forever. id Software's seminal shooter DOOM was released, and it shook the foundations of the medium. Daniel Pinchbeck brings together the complete story of DOOM for the first time.
This book takes a look at the early days of first-person gaming and the video game studio system. It discusses the prototypes and the groundbreaking technology that drove the game forward and offers a detailed analysis of gameplay and level design. Pinchbeck also examines DOOM's contributions to wider gaming culture, such as online multiplay and the modding community, and the first-person gaming genre, focusing on DOOM's status as a foundational title and the development of the genre since 1993. Pinchbeck draws extensively from primary data: from the game itself, from the massive fan culture surrounding the title, and from interviews with the developers who made it. This book is not only the definitive work on DOOM but a snapshot of a period of gaming history, a manifesto for a development ethos, and a celebration of game culture at its best.
From flight simulators and first-person shooters to MMPOG and innovative strategy games like 2008’s Spore, computer games owe their development to computer simulation and imaging produced by and for the military during the Cold War. To understand their place in contemporary culture, Patrick Crogan argues, we must first understand the military logics that created and continue to inform them. Gameplay Mode situates computer games and gaming within the contemporary technocultural moment, connecting them to developments in the conceptualization of pure war since the Second World War and the evolution of simulation as both a technological achievement and a sociopolitical tool.
Crogan begins by locating the origins of computer games in the development of cybernetic weapons systems in the 1940s, the U.S. Air Force’s attempt to use computer simulation to protect the country against nuclear attack, and the U.S. military’s development of the SIMNET simulated battlefield network in the late 1980s. He then examines specific game modes and genres in detail, from the creation of virtual space in fight simulation games and the co-option of narrative forms in gameplay to the continuities between online gaming sociality and real-world communities and the potential of experimental or artgame projects like September 12th: A Toy World and Painstation, to critique conventional computer games.
Drawing on critical theoretical perspectives on computer-based technoculture, Crogan reveals the profound extent to which today’s computer games—and the wider culture they increasingly influence—are informed by the technoscientific program they inherited from the military-industrial complex. But, Crogan concludes, games can play with, as well as play out, their underlying logic, offering the potential for computer gaming to anticipate a different, more peaceful and hopeful future.
Video games have been a central feature of the cultural landscape for over twenty years and now rival older media like movies, television, and music in popularity and cultural influence. Yet there have been relatively few attempts to understand the video game as an independent medium. Most such efforts focus on the earliest generation of text-based adventures (Zork, for example) and have little to say about such visually and conceptually sophisticated games as Final Fantasy X, Shenmue, Grand Theft Auto, Halo, and The Sims, in which players inhabit elaborately detailed worlds and manipulate digital avatars with a vast—and in some cases, almost unlimited—array of actions and choices.
In Gaming, Alexander Galloway instead considers the video game as a distinct cultural form that demands a new and unique interpretive framework. Drawing on a wide range of disciplines, particularly critical theory and media studies, he analyzes video games as something to be played rather than as texts to be read, and traces in five concise chapters how the “algorithmic culture” created by video games intersects with theories of visuality, realism, allegory, and the avant-garde. If photographs are images and films are moving images, then, Galloway asserts, video games are best defined as actions.
Using examples from more than fifty video games, Galloway constructs a classification system of action in video games, incorporating standard elements of gameplay as well as software crashes, network lags, and the use of cheats and game hacks. In subsequent chapters, he explores the overlap between the conventions of film and video games, the political and cultural implications of gaming practices, the visual environment of video games, and the status of games as an emerging cultural form.
Together, these essays offer a new conception of gaming and, more broadly, of electronic culture as a whole, one that celebrates and does not lament the qualities of the digital age.
Alexander R. Galloway is assistant professor of culture and communication at New York University and author of Protocol: How Control Exists after Decentralization.
In his 2004 book Game Work, Ken S. McAllister proposed a rigorous critical methodology for the discussion of the “video game complex”—the games themselves, their players, the industry that produces them, and those who review and market them. Games, McAllister demonstrated, are viewed and discussed very differently by different factions: as an economic force, as narrative texts, as a facet of popular culture, as a psychological playground, as an ethical and moral force, even as a tool for military training.
In Gaming Matters, McAllister and coauthor Judd Ruggill turn from the broader discussion of video game rhetoric to study the video game itself as a medium and the specific features that give rise to games as similar and yet diverse as Pong, Tomb Raider, and Halo. In short, what defines the computer game itself as a medium distinct from all others? Each chapter takes up a different fundamental characteristic of the medium. Games are:
• Idiosyncratic, and thus difficult to apprehend using the traditional tools of media study
• Irreconcilable, or complex to such a degree that developers, players, and scholars have contradictory ways of describing them
• Boring, and therefore obligated to constantly make demands
on players’ attention
• Anachronistic, or built on age-old tropes and forms of play
while ironically bound to the most advanced technologies
• Duplicitous, or dependent on truth-telling rhetoric even when they are about fictions, fantasies, or lies
• Work, or are often better understood as labor rather than play
• Alchemical, despite seeming all-too mechanical or predictable
Video games are now inarguably a major site of worldwide cultural production.
Gaming Matters will neither flatter game enthusiasts nor embolden game detractors in their assessments. But it will provide a vocabulary through which games can be discussed in academic settings and will create an important foundation for future academic discourse.
If he were alive today, what might Heidegger say about Halo, the popular video game franchise? What would Augustine think about Assassin’s Creed ? What could Maimonides teach us about Nintendo’s eponymous hero, Mario? While some critics might dismiss such inquiries outright, protesting that these great thinkers would never concern themselves with a medium so crude and mindless as video games, it is important to recognize that games like these are, in fact, becoming the defining medium of our time. We spend more time and money on video games than on books, television, or film, and any serious thinker of our age should be concerned with these games, what they are saying about us, and what we are learning from them.
Yet video games still remain relatively unexplored by both scholars and pundits alike. Few have advanced beyond outmoded and futile attempts to tie gameplay to violent behavior. With this canard now thoroughly and repeatedly disproven, it is time to delve deeper. Just as the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan recently acquired fourteen games as part of its permanent collection, so too must we seek to add a serious consideration of virtual worlds to the pantheon of philoso-phical inquiry.
In God in the Machine, author Liel Leibovitz leads a fascinating tour of the emerging virtual landscape and its many dazzling vistas from which we are offered new vantage points on age-old theological and philosophical questions. Free will vs. determinism, the importance of ritual, transcendence through mastery, notions of the self, justice and sin, life, death, and resurrection—these all come into play in the video games that some critics so easily write off as mind-numbing wastes of time. When one looks closely at how these games are designed, at their inherent logic, and at the cognitive effects they have on players, it becomes clear that playing these games creates a state of awareness vastly different from that which occurs when we watch television or read a book. Indeed, gameplay is a far more engaged process—one that draws on various faculties of mind and body to evoke sensations that might more commonly be associated with religious experience. Getting swept away in an engrossing game can be a profoundly spiritual activity. It is not to think, but rather simply to be, a logic that sustained our ancestors for millennia as they looked heavenward for answers.
Today, as more and more of us look screenward, it is important to investigate these games for their vast potential as fine instruments of moral training. Anyone seeking a concise and well-reasoned introduction to the subject would do well to start with God in the Machine. By illuminating both where video game storytelling is now and where it currently butts up against certain inherent limitations, Liebovitz intriguingly implies how the field and, in turn, our experiences might continue to evolve and advance in the coming years.
Explores the representation of slave revolt in video games—and the trouble with making history playable
Kill the Overseer! profiles and problematizes digital games that depict Atlantic slavery and “gamify” slave resistance. In videogames emphasizing plantation labor, the player may choose to commit small acts of resistance like tool-breaking or working slowly. Others dramatically stage the slave’s choice to flee enslavement and journey northward, and some depict outright violent revolt against the master and his apparatus. In this work, Sarah Juliet Lauro questions whether the reduction of a historical enslaved person to a digital commodity in games such as Mission US, Assassin’s Creed, and Freedom Cry ought to trouble us as a further commodification of slavery’s victims, or whether these interactive experiences offer an empowering commemoration of the history of slave resistance.
Forerunners is a thought-in-process series of breakthrough digital works. Written between fresh ideas and finished books, Forerunners draws on scholarly work initiated in notable blogs, social media, conference plenaries, journal articles, and the synergy of academic exchange. This is gray literature publishing: where intense thinking, change, and speculation take place in scholarship.
Lara Croft: Cyber Heroine
Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky University of Minnesota Press, 2005 Library of Congress P96.C77D4813 2005 | Dewey Decimal 793.932
Since the game Tomb Raider was first released in 1996, its protagonist Lara Croft has become an international celebrity. The virtual archaeologist-adventuress has been featured in various sequels to the original game, a line of action figures, two Hollywood films starring Angelina Jolie, forty comic books, a series of novels, and a variety of clothing, merchandise, and ephemera. She has appeared on the covers of Time and Newsweek, spawned innumerable Internet fan sites and a library of adulatory fan fiction, become a pornographic sex symbol, and even inspired a look-alike beauty pageant. Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky's groundbreaking study examines Lara Croft as a cyber heroine - a female body ubiquitously inhabited by game players, an icon of both female strength and male objectification, and the virtual future of fame. Despite Croft's prominence there have been few critical inquiries into her bridging of the boundary between virtual and real worlds or the extent to which she reflects and influences the image of women in digital media. First published in German and revised for this English-language edition, this book is an innovative analysis of the multimedia heroine, tracing the top-down marketing strategies and bottom-up frenzy that precipitated the Lara Croft phenomenon. For girls and women, Croft is a symbol of empowerment, a tough and self-assured riot grrl who has opened up the overwhelmingly masculinized world of computer gaming to female participants. At the same time, she personifies both heterosexual male fantasies and the twinned processes of globalization and cultural imperialism. Drawing on feminist and cultural studies, Deuber-Mankowsky sees Croft as symptomatic of the new media environment and its tendency to erase all qualitative difference, even sexual difference.
The greatest trick the videogame industry ever pulled was convincing the world that videogames were games rather than a medium for making metagames. Elegantly defined as “games about games,” metagames implicate a diverse range of practices that stray outside the boundaries and bend the rules: from technical glitches and forbidden strategies to Renaissance painting, algorithmic trading, professional sports, and the War on Terror. In Metagaming, Stephanie Boluk and Patrick LeMieux demonstrate how games always extend beyond the screen, and how modders, mappers, streamers, spectators, analysts, and artists are changing the way we play.
Metagaming uncovers these alternative histories of play by exploring the strange experiences and unexpected effects that emerge in, on, around, and through videogames. Players puzzle through the problems of perspectival rendering in Portal, perform clandestine acts of electronic espionage in EVE Online, compete and commentate in Korean StarCraft, and speedrun The Legend of Zelda in record times (with or without the use of vision). Companies like Valve attempt to capture the metagame through international e-sports and online marketplaces while the corporate history of Super Mario Bros. is undermined by the endless levels of Infinite Mario, the frustrating pranks of Asshole Mario, and even Super Mario Clouds, a ROM hack exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
One of the only books to include original software alongside each chapter, Metagaming transforms videogames from packaged products into instruments, equipment, tools, and toys for intervening in the sensory and political economies of everyday life. And although videogames conflate the creativity, criticality, and craft of play with the act of consumption, we don’t simply play videogames—we make metagames.
Videogame history is not just a history of one successful technology replacing the next. It is also a history of platforms and communities that never quite made it; that struggled to make their voices heard; that aggravated against the conventions of the day; and that never enjoyed the commercial success or recognition of their major counterparts. In *Minor Platforms in Videogame History*, Benjamin Nicoll argues that 'minor' videogame histories are anything but insignificant. Through an analysis of transitional, decolonial, imaginary, residual, and minor videogame platforms, Nicoll highlights moments of difference and discontinuity in videogame history. From the domestication of vector graphics in the early years of videogame consoles to the 'cloning' of Japanese computer games in South Korea in the 1980s, this book explores case studies that challenge taken-for-granted approaches to videogames, platforms, and their histories.
In Mondo Nano Colin Milburn takes his readers on a playful expedition through the emerging landscape of nanotechnology, offering a light-hearted yet critical account of our high-tech world of fun and games. This expedition ventures into discussions of the first nanocars, the popular video games Second Life, Crysis, and BioShock, international nanosoccer tournaments, and utopian nano cities. Along the way, Milburn shows how the methods, dispositions, and goals of nanotechnology research converge with video game culture. With an emphasis on play, scientists and gamers alike are building a new world atom by atom, transforming scientific speculations and video game fantasies into reality. Milburn suggests that the closing of the gap between bits and atoms entices scientists, geeks, and gamers to dream of a completely programmable future. Welcome to the wild world of Mondo Nano.
Upon its premiere in 1992, Midway’s Mortal Kombat spawned an enormously influential series of fighting games, notorious for their violent “fatality” moves performed by photorealistically rendered characters. Targeted by lawmakers and moral reformers, the series directly inspired the creation of an industrywide rating system for video games and became a referendum on the wide popularity of 16-bit home consoles. Along the way, it became one of the world’s most iconic fighting games, and a transmedia franchise that continues to this day.
This book traces Mortal Kombat’s history as an American product inspired by both Japanese video games and Chinese martial-arts cinema, its successes and struggles in adapting to new market trends, and the ongoing influence of its secret-strewn narrative world. After outlining the specific elements of gameplay that differentiated Mortal Kombat from its competitors in the coin-op market, David Church examines the various martial-arts films that inspired its Orientalist imagery, helping explain its stereotypical uses of race and gender. He contextualizes Mortal Kombat and its related controversies within a wider web of transnational and transmedial influences. He also posits the games as a cultural landmark from a moment when public policy attempted to intervene in both the remediation of cinematic aesthetics within interactive digital games and in the transition of public gaming spaces into the domestic sphere. Finally, the book explores how the franchise attempted to conquer other forms of media in the 1990s, lost ground to a new generation of 3D games in the 2000s, and has successfully rebooted itself in the 2010s to reclaim its legacy.
“Myst and Riven is well-written, interesting, on-topic, insightful, and a real pleasure to read.”
—Edward Castronova, Indiana University
Video games have become a major cultural force, and within their history, Myst and its sequel Riven stand out as influential examples. Myst and Riven: The World of the D’ni is a close analysis of two of the most popular and significant video games in the history of the genre, investigating in detail their design, their functionality, and the gameplay experience they provide players. While scholarly close analysis has been applied to films for some time now, it has only rarely been applied at this level to video games. Mark J. P. Wolf uses elements such as graphics and sound, the games’ mood and atmosphere and how they are generated, the geography and design of the digital worlds, and the narrative structures of the games to examine their appeal to both critical and general audiences, their legacy, and what made them great.
Myst and Riven is the inaugural book in the Landmark Video Games series, edited by Mark J. P. Wolf and Bernard Perron, which is the first series to examine individual video games of historical significance.
Initially developed in Japan by Nintendo as a computer game, Pokémon swept the globe in the late 1990s. Based on a narrative in which a group of children capture, train, and do battle with over a hundred imaginary creatures, Pokémon quickly diversified into an array of popular products including comic books, a TV show, movies, trading cards, stickers, toys, and clothing. Pokémon eventually became the top grossing children's product of all time. Yet the phenomenon fizzled as quickly as it had ignited. By 2002, the Pokémon craze was mostly over. Pikachu’s Global Adventure describes the spectacular, complex, and unpredictable rise and fall of Pokémon in countries around the world.
In analyzing the popularity of Pokémon, this innovative volume addresses core debates about the globalization of popular culture and about children’s consumption of mass-produced culture. Topics explored include the origins of Pokémon in Japan’s valorization of cuteness and traditions of insect collecting and anime; the efforts of Japanese producers and American marketers to localize it for foreign markets by muting its sex, violence, moral ambiguity, and general feeling of Japaneseness; debates about children’s vulnerability versus agency as consumers; and the contentious question of Pokémon’s educational value and place in school. The contributors include teachers as well as scholars from the fields of anthropology, media studies, sociology, and education. Tracking the reception of Pokémon in Japan, the United States, Great Britain, France, and Israel, they emphasize its significance as the first Japanese cultural product to enjoy substantial worldwide success and challenge western dominance in the global production and circulation of cultural goods.
Contributors. Anne Allison, Linda-Renée Bloch, Helen Bromley, Gilles Brougere, David Buckingham, Koichi Iwabuchi, Hirofumi Katsuno, Dafna Lemish, Jeffrey Maret, Julian Sefton-Green, Joseph Tobin, Samuel Tobin, Rebekah Willet, Christine Yano
"Play Redux excels in tying together intellectual traditions that are rooted in literary studies, cognitive science, play studies and several other fields, thereby creating a logical whole. Through this, the book makes service to several academic communities by pointing out their points of contact. This is clearly an important contribution to a growing academic field, and will no doubt become important in many future discussions about digital games and play."
---Frans Mäyrä, University of Tampere, Finland
"David Myers has researched video games longer than anyone else. Play Redux shows him continually relevant, never afraid of courting controversy."
---Jesper Juul, IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Play Redux is an ambitious description and critical analysis of the aesthetic pleasures of video game play, drawing on early twentieth-century formalist theory and models of literature. Employing a concept of biological naturalism grounded in cognitive theory, Myers argues for a clear delineation between the aesthetics of play and the aesthetics of texts. In the course of this study, Myers asks a number of interesting questions: What are the mechanics of human play as exhibited in computer games? Can these mechanisms be modeled? What is the evolutionary function of cognitive play, and is it, on the whole, a good thing? Intended as a provocative corrective to the currently ascendant, if not dominant, cultural and ethnographic approach to game studies and play, Play Redux will generate interest among scholars of communications, new media, and film.
David Myers is Reverend Aloysius B. Goodspeed Distinguished Professor at the School of Mass Communication, Loyola University New Orleans.
In Playing at Narratology Daniel Punday bridges the worlds of digital media studies and narrative studies by arguing that digital media allows us to see unresolved tensions, ambiguities, and gaps in core narrative concepts. Rather than developing new terms to account for web-based storytelling, Punday uses established narrative forms to better understand how digital media exposes faulty gaps in narrative theory. Punday’s Playing at Narratology shows that artists, video game developers, and narrative theorists are ultimately playing the same game.
Returning to terms such as narrator, setting, event, character, and world,Playing at Narratology reveals new ways of thinking about these basic narrative concepts—concepts that are not so basic when applied to games and web-based narratives. What are thought of as narrative innovations in these digital forms are a product of technological ability and tied to how we physically interact with a medium, creating new and complicated questions: Is the game designer the implied author or the narrator? Is the space on the screen simply the story’s setting? Playing at Narratology guides us through the evolution of narrative in new media without abandoning the field’s theoretical foundations.
A potent new book examines the overlap between our ecological crisis and video games
Video games may be fun and immersive diversions from daily life, but can they go beyond the realm of entertainment to do something serious—like help us save the planet? As one of the signature issues of the twenty-first century, ecological deterioration is seemingly everywhere, but it is rarely considered via the realm of interactive digital play. In Playing Nature, Alenda Y. Chang offers groundbreaking methods for exploring this vital overlap.
Arguing that games need to be understood as part of a cultural response to the growing ecological crisis, Playing Nature seeds conversations around key environmental science concepts and terms. Chang suggests several ways to rethink existing game taxonomies and theories of agency while revealing surprising fundamental similarities between game play and scientific work.
Gracefully reconciling new media theory with environmental criticism, Playing Nature examines an exciting range of games and related art forms, including historical and contemporary analog and digital games, alternate- and augmented-reality games, museum exhibitions, film, and science fiction. Chang puts her surprising ideas into conversation with leading media studies and environmental humanities scholars like Alexander Galloway, Donna Haraway, and Ursula Heise, ultimately exploring manifold ecological futures—not all of them dystopian.
How gaming intersects with systems like history, bodies, and code
Why do we so compulsively play video games? Might it have something to do with how gaming affects our emotions? In Playing with Feelings, scholar Aubrey Anable applies affect theory to game studies, arguing that video games let us “rehearse” feelings, states, and emotions that give new tones and textures to our everyday lives and interactions with digital devices. Rather than thinking about video games as an escape from reality, Anable demonstrates how video games—their narratives, aesthetics, and histories—have been intimately tied to our emotional landscape since the emergence of digital computers.
Looking at a wide variety of video games—including mobile games, indie games, art games, and games that have been traditionally neglected by academia—Anable expands our understanding of the ways in which these games and game studies can participate in feminist and queer interventions in digital media culture. She gives a new account of the touchscreen and intimacy with our mobile devices, asking what it means to touch and be touched by a game. She also examines how games played casually throughout the day create meaningful interludes that give us new ways of relating to work in our lives. And Anable reflects on how games allow us to feel differently about what it means to fail.
Playing with Feelings offers provocative arguments for why video games should be seen as the most significant art form of the twenty-first century and gives the humanities passionate, incisive, and daring arguments for why games matter.
In The Queer Games Avant-Garde, Bonnie Ruberg presents twenty interviews with twenty-two queer video game developers whose radical, experimental, vibrant, and deeply queer work is driving a momentous shift in the medium of video games. Speaking with insight and candor about their creative practices as well as their politics and passions, these influential and innovative game makers tell stories about their lives and inspirations, the challenges they face, and the ways they understand their places within the wider terrain of video game culture. Their insights go beyond typical conversations about LGBTQ representation in video games or how to improve “diversity” in digital media. Instead, they explore queer game-making practices, the politics of queer independent video games, how queerness can be expressed as an aesthetic practice, the influence of feminist art on their work, and the future of queer video games and technology. These engaging conversations offer a portrait of an influential community that is subverting and redefining the medium of video games by placing queerness front and center.
Interviewees: Ryan Rose Aceae, Avery Alder, Jimmy Andrews, Santo Aveiro-Ojeda, Aevee Bee, Tonia B******, Mattie Brice, Nicky Case, Naomi Clark, Mo Cohen, Heather Flowers, Nina Freeman, Jerome Hagen, Kat Jones, Jess Marcotte, Andi McClure, Llaura McGee, Seanna Musgrave, Liz Ryerson, Elizabeth Sampat, Loren Schmidt, Sarah Schoemann, Dietrich Squinkifer, Kara Stone, Emilia Yang, Robert Yang
Cultural stereotypes to the contrary, approximately half of all video game players are now women. A subculture once dominated by men, video games have become a form of entertainment composed of gender binaries. Supported by games such as Diner Dash, Mystery Case Files, Wii Fit, and Kim Kardashian: Hollywood—which are all specifically marketed toward women—the gamer industry is now a major part of imagining what femininity should look like.
In Ready Player Two, media critic Shira Chess uses the concept of “Player Two”—the industry idealization of the female gamer—to examine the assumptions implicit in video games designed for women and how they have impacted gaming culture and the larger society. With Player Two, the video game industry has designed specifically for the feminine ideal: she is white, middle class, heterosexual, cis-gendered, and abled. Drawing on categories from time management and caregiving to social networking, consumption, and bodies, Chess examines how games have been engineered to shape normative ideas about women and leisure.
Ready Player Two presents important arguments about how gamers and game developers must change their thinking about both women and games to produce better games, better audiences, and better industry practices. Ultimately, this book offers vital prescriptions for how one of our most powerful entertainment industries must evolve its ideas of women.
In Respawn Colin Milburn examines the connections between video games, hacking, and science fiction that galvanize technological activism and technological communities. Discussing a wide range of games, from Portal and Final Fantasy VII to Super Mario Sunshine and Shadow of the Colossus, Milburn illustrates how they impact the lives of gamers and non-gamers alike. They also serve as resources for critique, resistance, and insurgency, offering a space for players and hacktivist groups such as Anonymous to challenge obstinate systems and experiment with alternative futures. Providing an essential walkthrough guide to our digital culture and its high-tech controversies, Milburn shows how games and playable media spawn new modes of engagement in a computerized world.
Silent Hill: The Terror Engine, the second of the two inaugural studies in the Landmark Video Games series from series editors Mark J. P. Wolf and Bernard Perron, is both a close analysis of the first three Silent Hill games and a general look at the whole series. Silent Hill, with its first title released in 1999, is one of the most influential of the horror video game series. Perron situates the games within the survival horror genre, both by looking at the history of the genre and by comparing Silent Hill with such important forerunners as Alone in the Dark and Resident Evil. Taking a transmedia approach and underlining the designer's cinematic and literary influences, he uses the narrative structure; the techniques of imagery, sound, and music employed; the game mechanics; and the fiction, artifact, and gameplay emotions elicited by the games to explore the specific fears survival horror games are designed to provoke and how the experience as a whole has made the Silent Hill series one of the major landmarks of video game history.
Simulating Good and Evil shows that the moral panic surrounding violent videogames is deeply misguided, and often politically motivated, but that games are nevertheless morally important. Simulated actions are morally defensible because they take place outside the real world and do not inflict real harms. Decades of research purporting to show that videogames are immoral has failed to produce convincing evidence of this. However, games are morally important because they simulate decisions that would have moral weight if they were set in the real world. Videogames should be seen as spaces in which players may experiment with moral reasoning strategies without taking any actions that would themselves be subject to moral evaluation. Some videogame content may be upsetting or offensive, but mere offense does not necessarily indicate a moral problem. Upsetting content is best understood by applying existing theories for evaluating political ideologies and offensive speech.
"In May 2000 I was fired from my job as a reporter on a finance newsletter because of an obsession with a video game.
It was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
So begins this story of personal redemption through the unlikely medium of electronic games. Quake, World of Warcraft, Eve Online, and other online games not only offered author Jim Rossignol an excellent escape from the tedium of office life. They also provided him with a diverse global community and a job—as a games journalist.
Part personal history, part travel narrative, part philosophical reflection on the meaning of play, This Gaming Life describes Rossignol’s encounters in three cities: London, Seoul, and Reykjavik. From his days as a Quake genius in London’s increasingly corporate gaming culture; to Korea, where gaming is a high-stakes televised national sport; to Iceland, the home of his ultimate obsession, the idiosyncratic and beguiling Eve Online, Rossignol introduces us to a vivid and largely undocumented world of gaming lives.
Torn between unabashed optimism about the future of games and lingering doubts about whether they are just a waste of time, This Gaming Life also raises important questions about this new and vital cultural form. Should we celebrate the “serious” educational, social, and cultural value of games, as academics and journalists are beginning to do? Or do these high-minded justifications simply perpetuate the stereotype of games as a lesser form of fun? In this beautifully written, richly detailed, and inspiring book, Rossignol brings these abstract questions to life, immersing us in a vibrant landscape of gaming experiences.
“We need more writers like Jim Rossignol, writers who are intimately familiar with gaming, conversant in the latest research surrounding games, and able to write cogently and interestingly about the experience of playing as well as the deeper significance of games.”
—Chris Baker, Wired
“This Gaming Life is a fascinating and eye-opening look into the real human impact of gaming culture. Traveling the globe and drawing anecdotes from many walks of life, Rossignol takes us beyond the media hype and into the lives of real people whose lives have been changed by gaming. The results may surprise you.”
—Raph Koster, game designer and author of A Theory of Fun for Game Design
“Is obsessive video gaming a character flaw? In This Gaming Life, Jim Rossignol answers with an emphatic ‘no,’ and offers a passionate and engaging defense of what is too often considered a ‘bad habit’ or ‘guilty pleasure.’”
—Joshua Davis, author of The Underdog
“This is a wonderfully literate look at gaming cultures, which you don't have to be a gamer to enjoy. The Korea section blew my mind.”
—John Seabrook, New Yorker staff writer and author of Flash of Genius and Other True Stories of Invention
digitalculturebooks is an imprint of the University of Michigan Press and the Scholarly Publishing Office of the University of Michigan Library dedicated to publishing innovative and accessible work exploring new media and their impact on society, culture, and scholarly communication. Visit the website at www.digitalculture.org.
Transnational Play makes a case for approaching gameplay as a global industry and set of practices that also includes diverse participation from players and developers located within the global South, in nations outside of the First World. Such participation includes gameplay in cafes, games for regional and global causes like environmentalism, piracy and cheats, localization, urban playful art in Latin America, and the development of culturally unique mobile games. This book offers a reorientation of perspective on global play, while still acknowledging geographically distributed socioeconomic, racial, gender, and other inequities. Over the course of the inquiry, which includes a chapter dedicated to the cartography of the mobile augmented reality game Pokémon Go, the author develops a theoretical line of argument critically informed by gender studies and intersectionality, post-colonialism, geopolitics, and game studies. This book looks at who develops, localizes, and consumes games, problematizing play as a diverse and contested transnational domain.
What Is Your Quest? examines the future of electronic literature in a world where tablets and e-readers are becoming as common as printed books and where fans are blurring the distinction between reader and author. The construction of new ways of storytelling is already underway: it is happening on the edges of the mainstream gaming industry and in the spaces between media, on the foundations set by classic games. Along these margins, convergent storytelling allows for playful reading and reading becomes a strategy of play.
One of the earliest models for this new way of telling stories was the adventure game, the kind of game centered on quests in which the characters must overcome obstacles and puzzles. After they fell out of fashion in the 1990s, fans made strenuous efforts to keep them alive and to create new games in the genre. Such activities highlight both the convergence of game and story and the collapsing distinction between reader and author. Continually defying the forces of obsolescence, fans return abandoned games to a playable state and treat stories as ever-evolving narratives. Similarly, players of massive multiplayer games become co-creators of the game experience, building characters and creating social networks that recombine a reading and gaming community.
The interactions between storytellers and readers, between programmers and creators, and among fans turned world-builders are essential to the development of innovative ways of telling stories. And at the same time that fan activities foster the convergence of digital gaming and storytelling, new and increasingly accessible tools and models for interactive narrative empower a broadening range of storytellers. It is precisely this interactivity among a range of users surrounding these new platforms that is radically reshaping both e-books and games and those who read and play with them.