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Gaming Matters : Art, Science, Magic, and the Computer Game Medium

ISBN: 9780817317379 | 0817317376
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Univ of Alabama Pr
Pub. Date: 5/11/2011

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In his 2004 book Game Work, Ken S. McAllister proposed a rigorous critical methodology for the discussion of the #x1C;video game complex#x1D;-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#x19; 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 Matterswill 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.


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