How to Talk about Videogames

Author: Ian Bogost

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780816699117

Category: Video games

Page: 208

View: 6635

Videogames! Aren't they the medium of the twenty-first century? The new cinema? The apotheosis of art and entertainment, the realization of Wagnerian gesamtkunstwerk? The final victory of interaction over passivity? No, probably not. Games are part art and part appliance, part tableau and part toaster. In How to Talk about Videogames, leading critic Ian Bogost explores this paradox more thoroughly than any other author to date. Delving into popular, familiar games like Flappy Bird, Mirror's Edge, Mario Kart, Scribblenauts, Ms. Pac-Man, FarmVille, Candy Crush Saga, Bully, Medal of Honor, Madden NFL, and more, Bogost posits that videogames are as much like appliances as they are like art and media. We don't watch or read games like we do films and novels and paintings, nor do we perform them like we might dance or play football or Frisbee. Rather, we do something in-between with games. Games are devices we operate, so game critique is both serious cultural currency and self-parody. It is about figuring out what it means that a game works the way it does and then treating the way it works as if it were reasonable, when we know it isn't. Noting that the term games criticism once struck him as preposterous, Bogost observes that the idea, taken too seriously, risks balkanizing games writing from the rest of culture, severing it from the "rivers and fields" that sustain it. As essential as it is, he calls for its pursuit to unfold in this spirit: "God save us from a future of games critics, gnawing on scraps like the zombies that fester in our objects of study."

How to Do Things with Videogames

Author: Ian Bogost

Publisher: U of Minnesota Press

ISBN: 145293312X

Category: Games & Activities

Page: 192

View: 8266

In recent years, computer games have moved from the margins of popular culture to its center. Reviews of new games and profiles of game designers now regularly appear in the New York Times and the New Yorker, and sales figures for games are reported alongside those of books, music, and movies. They are increasingly used for purposes other than entertainment, yet debates about videogames still fork along one of two paths: accusations of debasement through violence and isolation or defensive paeans to their potential as serious cultural works. In How to Do Things with Videogames, Ian Bogost contends that such generalizations obscure the limitless possibilities offered by the medium’s ability to create complex simulated realities. Bogost, a leading scholar of videogames and an award-winning game designer, explores the many ways computer games are used today: documenting important historical and cultural events; educating both children and adults; promoting commercial products; and serving as platforms for art, pornography, exercise, relaxation, pranks, and politics. Examining these applications in a series of short, inviting, and provocative essays, he argues that together they make the medium broader, richer, and more relevant to a wider audience. Bogost concludes that as videogames become ever more enmeshed with contemporary life, the idea of gamers as social identities will become obsolete, giving rise to gaming by the masses. But until games are understood to have valid applications across the cultural spectrum, their true potential will remain unrealized. How to Do Things with Videogames offers a fresh starting point to more fully consider games’ progress today and promise for the future.

Gaming

Essays on Algorithmic Culture

Author: Alexander R. Galloway

Publisher: U of Minnesota Press

ISBN: 1452908680

Category: Social Science

Page: 143

View: 1539

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.

Unit Operations

An Approach to Videogame Criticism

Author: Ian Bogost

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262261898

Category: Social Science

Page: 264

View: 3228

In Unit Operations, Ian Bogost argues that similar principles underlie both literary theory and computation, proposing a literary-technical theory that can be used to analyze particular videogames. Moreover, this approach can be applied beyond videogames: Bogost suggests that any medium -- from videogames to poetry, literature, cinema, or art -- can be read as a configurative system of discrete, interlocking units of meaning, and he illustrates this method of analysis with examples from all these fields. The marriage of literary theory and information technology, he argues, will help humanists take technology more seriously and hep technologists better understand software and videogames as cultural artifacts. This approach is especially useful for the comparative analysis of digital and nondigital artifacts and allows scholars from other fields who are interested in studying videogames to avoid the esoteric isolation of "game studies."The richness of Bogost's comparative approach can be seen in his discussions of works by such philosophers and theorists as Plato, Badiou, Zizek, and McLuhan, and in his analysis of numerous videogames including Pong, Half-Life, and Star Wars Galaxies. Bogost draws on object technology and complex adaptive systems theory for his method of unit analysis, underscoring the configurative aspects of a wide variety of human processes. His extended analysis of freedom in large virtual spaces examines Grand Theft Auto 3, The Legend of Zelda, Flaubert's Madame Bovary, and Joyce's Ulysses. In Unit Operations, Bogost not only offers a new methodology for videogame criticism but argues for the possibility of real collaboration between the humanities and information technology.

Persuasive Games

The Expressive Power of Videogames

Author: Ian Bogost

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262261944

Category: Games

Page: 464

View: 1233

Videogames are an expressive medium, and a persuasive medium; they represent how real and imagined systems work, and they invite players to interact with those systems and form judgments about them. In this innovative analysis, Ian Bogost examines the way videogames mount arguments and influence players. Drawing on the 2,500-year history of rhetoric, the study of persuasive expression, Bogost analyzes rhetoric's unique function in software in general and videogames in particular. The field of media studies already analyzes visual rhetoric, the art of using imagery and visual representation persuasively. Bogost argues that videogames, thanks to their basic representational mode of procedurality (rule-based representations and interactions), open a new domain for persuasion; they realize a new form of rhetoric. Bogost calls this new form "procedural rhetoric," a type of rhetoric tied to the core affordances of computers: running processes and executing rule-based symbolic manipulation. He argues further that videogames have a unique persuasive power that goes beyond other forms of computational persuasion. Not only can videogames support existing social and cultural positions, but they can also disrupt and change these positions themselves, leading to potentially significant long-term social change. Bogost looks at three areas in which videogame persuasion has already taken form and shows considerable potential: politics, advertising, and learning.

Understanding Video Games

The Essential Introduction

Author: Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen,Jonas Heide Smith,Susana Pajares Tosca

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317533127

Category: Games

Page: 286

View: 9586

Understanding Video Games is a crucial guide for newcomers to video game studies and experienced game scholars alike. This revised and updated third edition of the pioneering text provides a comprehensive introduction to the field of game studies, and highlights changes in the gaming industry, advances in video game scholarship, and recent trends in game design and development—including mobile, casual, educational, and indie gaming. In the third edition of this textbook, students will: Learn the major theories and schools of thought used to study games, including ludology and narratology; Understand the commercial and organizational aspects of the game industry; Trace the history of games, from the board games of ancient Egypt to the rise of mobile gaming; Explore the aesthetics of game design, including rules, graphics, audio, and time; Analyze the narrative strategies and genre approaches used in video games; Consider the debate surrounding the effects of violent video games and the impact of "serious games." Featuring discussion questions, recommended games, a glossary of key terms, and an interactive online video game history timeline, Understanding Video Games provides a valuable resource for anyone interested in examining the ways video games are reshaping entertainment and society.

Rise of the Videogame Zinesters

How Freaks, Normals, Amateurs, Artists, Dreamers, Drop-outs, Queers, Housewives, and People Like You Are Taking Back an Art Form

Author: Anna Anthropy

Publisher: Seven Stories Press

ISBN: 1609803736

Category: Games

Page: 124

View: 8515

"Anna Anthropy is a key personality in the ongoing paradigm shift that is slowly changing the way videogames are understood, by creators and players, and by the wider culture." —Patrick Alexander, Eegra.com "Equal parts autobiography, ethnography, and how-to manual, this book concisely makes the case for the unique power of 'zinester' games." —Adam Parrish, NYU's Interactive Telecommunication Program (Tisch School of the Arts), and author of the ZZT game "Winter" "These days, everybody can make and distribute a photograph, or a video, or a book. Rise of the Videogame Zinesters shows you that everyone can make a videogame, too. But why should they? For Anna Anthropy, it's not for fame or for profit, but for the strange, aimless beauty of personal creativity.” —Ian Bogost, Director, Graduate Program in Digital Media, Georgia Institute of Technology "Rise is a great guidebook to understanding—and more importantly, participating in—this dynamically evolving culture." —Jim Munroe, co-founder of the Hand Eye Society and the Difference Engine Initiative “Here, Anna Anthropy demonstrates how people from every background and walk of life are breaking free of the commercial cowardice of major publishers, and bringing their individual visions of the game to life. . . . If game design is to be an art, as those of us who love games fervently hope, it must be rescued from its crushing commercial pressures. You can be a part of its future.” —Greg Costikyan, author of I Have No Mouth and I Must Design "Anna gives the world of video games a crucial perspective from her seat of authority within outsider culture, and illustrates how essential it is for the space to empower voices of all kinds if it is to evolve." —Leigh Alexander, editor-at-large of Gamasutra

Play Anything

The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games

Author: Ian Bogost

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465096506

Category: Science

Page: 288

View: 349

How filling life with play-whether soccer or lawn mowing, counting sheep or tossing Angry Birds-forges a new path for creativity and joy in our impatient age Life is boring: filled with meetings and traffic, errands and emails. Nothing we'd ever call fun. But what if we've gotten fun wrong? In Play Anything, visionary game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost shows how we can overcome our daily anxiety; transforming the boring, ordinary world around us into one of endless, playful possibilities. The key to this playful mindset lies in discovering the secret truth of fun and games. Play Anything, reveals that games appeal to us not because they are fun, but because they set limitations. Soccer wouldn't be soccer if it wasn't composed of two teams of eleven players using only their feet, heads, and torsos to get a ball into a goal; Tetris wouldn't be Tetris without falling pieces in characteristic shapes. Such rules seem needless, arbitrary, and difficult. Yet it is the limitations that make games enjoyable, just like it's the hard things in life that give it meaning. Play is what happens when we accept these limitations, narrow our focus, and, consequently, have fun. Which is also how to live a good life. Manipulating a soccer ball into a goal is no different than treating ordinary circumstances- like grocery shopping, lawn mowing, and making PowerPoints-as sources for meaning and joy. We can "play anything" by filling our days with attention and discipline, devotion and love for the world as it really is, beyond our desires and fears. Ranging from Internet culture to moral philosophy, ancient poetry to modern consumerism, Bogost shows us how today's chaotic world can only be tamed-and enjoyed-when we first impose boundaries on ourselves.

Synthetic Worlds

The Business and Culture of Online Games

Author: Edward Castronova

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226096319

Category: Computers

Page: 344

View: 3058

From EverQuest to World of Warcraft, online games have evolved from the exclusive domain of computer geeks into an extraordinarily lucrative staple of the entertainment industry. People of all ages and from all walks of life now spend thousands of hours—and dollars—partaking in this popular new brand of escapism. But the line between fantasy and reality is starting to blur. Players have created virtual societies with governments and economies of their own whose currencies now trade against the dollar on eBay at rates higher than the yen. And the players who inhabit these synthetic worlds are starting to spend more time online than at their day jobs. In Synthetic Worlds, Edward Castronova offers the first comprehensive look at the online game industry, exploring its implications for business and culture alike. He starts with the players, giving us a revealing look into the everyday lives of the gamers—outlining what they do in their synthetic worlds and why. He then describes the economies inside these worlds to show how they might dramatically affect real world financial systems, from potential disruptions of markets to new business horizons. Ultimately, he explores the long-term social consequences of online games: If players can inhabit worlds that are more alluring and gratifying than reality, then how can the real world ever compete? Will a day ever come when we spend more time in these synthetic worlds than in our own? Or even more startling, will a day ever come when such questions no longer sound alarmist but instead seem obsolete? With more than ten million active players worldwide—and with Microsoft and Sony pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into video game development—online games have become too big to ignore. Synthetic Worlds spearheads our efforts to come to terms with this virtual reality and its concrete effects. “Illuminating. . . . Castronova’s analysis of the economics of fun is intriguing. Virtual-world economies are designed to make the resulting game interesting and enjoyable for their inhabitants. Many games follow a rags-to-riches storyline, for example. But how can all the players end up in the top 10%? Simple: the upwardly mobile human players need only be a subset of the world's population. An underclass of computer-controlled 'bot' citizens, meanwhile, stays poor forever. Mr. Castronova explains all this with clarity, wit, and a merciful lack of academic jargon.”—The Economist “Synthetic Worlds is a surprisingly profound book about the social, political, and economic issues arising from the emergence of vast multiplayer games on the Internet. What Castronova has realized is that these games, where players contribute considerable labor in exchange for things they value, are not merely like real economies, they are real economies, displaying inflation, fraud, Chinese sweatshops, and some surprising in-game innovations.”—Tim Harford, Chronicle of Higher Education

Gamer Theory

Author: McKenzie Wark

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674044838

Category: Social Science

Page: 240

View: 7495

Ever get the feeling that life's a game with changing rules and no clear sides? Welcome to gamespace, the world in which we live. Where others argue obsessively over violence in games, Wark contends that digital computer games are our society's emergent cultural form, a utopian version of the world as it is. Gamer Theory uncovers the significance of games in the gap between the near-perfection of actual games and the imperfect gamespace of everyday life in the rat race of free-market society.

The State of Play

Creators and Critics on Video Game Culture

Author: Daniel Goldberg

Publisher: Seven Stories Press

ISBN: 1609806409

Category: Games

Page: 192

View: 3870

FEATURING: IAN BOGOST - LEIGH ALEXANDER - ZOE QUINN - ANITA SARKEESIAN & KATHERINE CROSS - IAN SHANAHAN - ANNA ANTHROPY - EVAN NARCISSE - HUSSEIN IBRAHIM - CARA ELLISON & BRENDAN KEOGH - DAN GOLDING - DAVID JOHNSTON - WILLIAM KNOBLAUCH - MERRITT KOPAS - OLA WIKANDER The State of Play is a call to consider the high stakes of video game culture and how our digital and real lives collide. Here, video games are not hobbies or pure recreation; they are vehicles for art, sex, and race and class politics. The sixteen contributors are entrenched—they are the video game creators themselves, media critics, and Internet celebrities. They share one thing: they are all players at heart, handpicked to form a superstar roster by Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson, the authors of the bestselling Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus "Notch" Persson and the Game that Changed Everything. The State of Play is essential reading for anyone interested in what may well be the defining form of cultural expression of our time. "If you want to explain to anyone why videogames are worth caring about, this is a single volume primer on where we are, how we got here and where we're going next. In every way, this is the state of play." —Kieron Gillen, author of The Wicked + the Divine, co-founder of Rock Paper Shotgun From the Hardcover edition.

A Casual Revolution

Reinventing Video Games and Their Players

Author: Jesper Juul

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 9780262285803

Category: Games & Activities

Page: 264

View: 7176

We used to think that video games were mostly for young men, but with the success of the Nintendo Wii, and the proliferation of games in browsers, cell phone games, and social games video games changed changed fundamentally in the years from 2000 to 2010. These new casual games are now played by men and women, young and old. Players need not possess an intimate knowledge of video game history or devote weeks or months to play. At the same time, many players of casual games show a dedication and skill that is anything but casual. In A Casual Revolution, Jesper Juul describes this as a reinvention of video games, and of our image of video game players, and explores what this tells us about the players, the games, and their interaction. With this reinvention of video games, the game industry reconnects with a general audience. Many of today's casual game players once enjoyed Pac-Man, Tetris, and other early games, only to drop out when video games became more time-consuming and complex. Juul shows that it is only by understanding what a game requires of players, what players bring to a game, how the game industry works, and how video games have developed historically that we can understand what makes video games fun and why we choose to play (or not to play) them. Important Notice: The digital edition of this book is missing some of the images found in the physical edition.

Bit by Bit

How Video Games Transformed Our World

Author: Andrew Ervin

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465096581

Category: Games & Activities

Page: 304

View: 4053

An acclaimed novelist and critic argues that video games are the most vital art form of our time Video games have seemingly taken over our lives. Whereas gamers once constituted a small and largely male subculture, today 67 percent of American households play video games. The average gamer is now thirty-four years old and spends eight hours each week playing-and there is a 40 percent chance this person is a woman. In Bit by Bit, Andrew Ervin sets out to understand the explosive popularity of video games. He travels to government laboratories, junk shops, and arcades. He interviews scientists and game designers, both old and young. In charting the material and technological history of video games, from the 1950s to the present, he suggests that their appeal starts and ends with the sense of creativity they instill in gamers. As Ervin argues, games can be art because they are beautiful, moving, and even political.

Values at Play in Digital Games

Author: Mary Flanagan,Helen Nissenbaum

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262324458

Category: Computers

Page: 224

View: 3186

All games express and embody human values, providing a compelling arena in which we play out beliefs and ideas. "Big ideas" such as justice, equity, honesty, and cooperation -- as well as other kinds of ideas, including violence, exploitation, and greed -- may emerge in games whether designers intend them or not. In this book, Mary Flanagan and Helen Nissenbaum present Values at Play, a theoretical and practical framework for identifying socially recognized moral and political values in digital games. Values at Play can also serve as a guide to designers who seek to implement values in the conception and design of their games. After developing a theoretical foundation for their proposal, Flanagan and Nissenbaum provide detailed examinations of selected games, demonstrating the many ways in which values are embedded in them. They introduce the Values at Play heuristic, a systematic approach for incorporating values into the game design process. Interspersed among the book's chapters are texts by designers who have put Values at Play into practice by accepting values as a design constraint like any other, offering a real-world perspective on the design challenges involved.

The Art of Failure

An Essay on the Pain of Playing Video Games

Author: Jesper Juul

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262313138

Category: Games

Page: 176

View: 2947

We may think of video games as being "fun," but in The Art of Failure, Jesper Juul claims that this is almost entirely mistaken. When we play video games, our facial expressions are rarely those of happiness or bliss. Instead, we frown, grimace, and shout in frustration as we lose, or die, or fail to advance to the next level. Humans may have a fundamental desire to succeed and feel competent, but game players choose to engage in an activity in which they are nearly certain to fail and feel incompetent. So why do we play video games even though they make us unhappy? Juul examines this paradox. In video games, as in tragic works of art, literature, theater, and cinema, it seems that we want to experience unpleasantness even if we also dislike it. Reader or audience reaction to tragedy is often explained as catharsis, as a purging of negative emotions. But, Juul points out, this doesn't seem to be the case for video game players. Games do not purge us of unpleasant emotions; they produce them in the first place. What, then, does failure in video game playing do? Juul argues that failure in a game is unique in that when you fail in a game, you (not a character) are in some way inadequate. Yet games also motivate us to play more, in order to escape that inadequacy, and the feeling of escaping failure (often by improving skills) is a central enjoyment of games. Games, writes Juul, are the art of failure: the singular art form that sets us up for failure and allows us to experience it and experiment with it. The Art of Failure is essential reading for anyone interested in video games, whether as entertainment, art, or education.

Embed with Games

A Year on the Couch with Game Developers

Author: Cara Ellison

Publisher: Birlinn Publishers

ISBN: 9781846973444

Category: Computer games

Page: 136

View: 3686

COMPUTER GAMES DESIGN. In 2014 games critic Cara Ellison rather flippantly pledged to the internet she'd leave home, become itinerant, and travel around the world to live with and write about some of the most interesting game developers and their cultural outlook. As your 'cyberpunk hair-dyed Attenborough', originally Cara put up the Embed With Games series monthly on a free blog as she travelledfrom couch to couch, writing about the people she met and about the way our game creators express the culture around them. The internet generously helped fund her travel costs through a subscription service, egging her on in the only way it could. This is the collected work, called Embed With Games with an exclusive introduction from Kieron Gillen, a cover from Irene Koh, and a conclusion exclusive to the ebook.

Born Digital

How Children Grow Up in a Digital Age

Author: John Palfrey,Urs Gasser

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465053920

Category: Social Science

Page: 352

View: 9826

Mixed Realism

Videogames and the Violence of Fiction

Author: Timothy J. Welsh

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780816696086

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 232

View: 4451

Mixed Realism is about how we interact with media. Timothy J. Welsh shows how videogames, like novels, both promise and trouble experiences of "immersion." His innovative methodology offers a new understanding of the expanding role of virtuality in contemporary life. Today's wired culture is a mixed reality, conducted as exchanges between virtual and material contexts. We make balance transfers at an ATM, update Facebook timelines, and squeeze in sessions of Angry Birds on the subway. However, the "virtual" is still frequently figured as imaginary, as opposed to "real." The vision of 1990s writers of a future that would pit virtual reality against actual reality has never materialized, yet it continues to haunt cultural criticism. Our ongoing anxiety about immersive media now surrounds videogames, especially "shooter games," and manifests as a fear that gamers might not know the difference between the virtual world and the real world. As Welsh notes, this is the paradox of real virtuality. We understand that the media-generated virtualities that fill our lives are not what they represent. But what are they if they are not real? Do they have presence, significance, or influence exceeding their material presence and the user processes that invoke them? What relationships do they establish through and beyond our interactions with them? Mixed Realism brims with fresh analyses of literary works such as Truman Capote's In Cold Blood and Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves, along with sustained readings of controversial videogames such as Super Columbine Massacre and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Continually connecting the dots between surprising groupings of texts and thinkers, from David Foster Wallace to the cult-classic videogame Eternal Darkness and from Cormac McCarthy to Grand Theft Auto, it offers a fresh perspective on both digital games and contemporary literature.

History of Digital Games

Developments in Art, Design and Interaction

Author: Andrew Williams

Publisher: CRC Press

ISBN: 1317503813

Category: Computers

Page: 271

View: 9055

The growth of videogame design programs in higher education and explosion of amateur game development has created a need for a deeper understanding of game history that addresses not only "when," but "how" and "why." Andrew Williams takes the first step in creating a comprehensive survey on the history of digital games as commercial products and artistic forms in a textbook appropriate for university instruction. History of Digital Games adopts a unique approach and scope that traces the interrelated concepts of game design, art and design of input devices from the beginnings of coin-operated amusement in the late 1800s to the independent games of unconventional creators in the present. Rooted in the concept of videogames as designed objects, Williams investigates the sources that inspired specific game developers as well as establishing the historical, cultural, economic and technological contexts that helped shape larger design trends

On Video Games

The Visual Politics of Race, Gender and Space

Author: Soraya Murray

Publisher: I.B.Tauris

ISBN: 178672250X

Category: Social Science

Page: 336

View: 9599

Video games are a defining part of mass visual culture. Today over half of all American households own a dedicated game console and gaming industry profits trump those of the film industry worldwide. In this book, Soraya Murray moves past the technical discussions of games and offers a fresh and incisive look at their cultural dimensions. She critically explores blockbusters likeThe Last of Us, Metal Gear Solid, Spec Ops: The Line, Tomb Raider and Assassin’s Creed to show how they are deeply entangled with American ideological positions and contemporary political, cultural and economic conflicts. As quintessential forms of visual material in the twenty-first century, mainstream games both mirror and spur larger societal fears, hopes and dreams, and even address complex struggles for recognition. This book examines both their elaborately constructed characters and densely layered worlds, whose social and environmental landscapes reflect ideas about gender, race, globalisation and urban life. In this emerging field of study, Murray provides novel theoretical approaches to discussing games and playable media as culture. Demonstrating that games are at the frontline of power relations, she reimagines how we see them – and more importantly how we understand them.