Gaming Matters: Art, Science, Magic, and the Computer Game Medium
Judd Ethan Ruggill (Author) Ken S. McAllister (Author)
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DescriptionIn 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 demandson players' attention- Anachronistic, or built on age-old tropes and forms of playwhile 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 predictableVideo 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.
University of Alabama Press
May 11, 2011
6.3 X 9.2 X 1.0 inches | 0.01 pounds
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About the Author
Judd Ethan Ruggill (Arizona State University) and Ken S. McAllister (University of Arizona) co-direct the Learning Games Initiative (LGI), a transdisciplinary, inter-institutional research group that studies, teaches with, and builds computer games. They also curate one of the world's largest research-oriented computer game archives, and have written and lectured extensively on the necessity of interdisciplinary collaboration, the politics of digital media, and the importance of play in scholarship.