Early video game studies scholars were quick to point out that a game should never be reduced to merely its "story" or narrative content and they rightly insist on the importance of studying games as games. But here Steven E. Jones demonstrates that textual studies–which grows historically out of ancient questions of textual recension, multiple versions, production, reproduction, and reception–can fruitfully be applied to the study of video games. Citing specific examples such as Myst and Lost, Katamari Damacy, Halo, Façade, Nintendo’s Wii, and Will Wright’s Spore, the book explores the ways in which textual studies concepts–authorial intention, textual variability and performance, the paratext, publishing history and the social text–can shed light on video games as more than formal systems. It treats video games as cultural forms of expression that are received as they are played, out in the world, where their meanings get made.
Steven E. Jones is Professor of English at Loyola University in Chicago. He is author of Against Technology (Routledge, 2006) and Satire and Romanticism, and he is editor of The Satiric Eye: Forms of Satire in the Romantic Period.
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.
In The Emergence of the Digital Humanities, Steven E. Jones examines this shift in our relationship to digital technology and the ways that it has affected humanities scholarship and the academy more broadly. Based on the premise that the network is now everywhere rather than merely "out there," Jones links together seemingly disparate cultural events—the essential features of popular social media, the rise of motion-control gaming and mobile platforms, the controversy over the "gamification" of everyday life, the spatial turn, fabrication and 3D printing, and electronic publishing—and argues that cultural responses to changes in technology provide an essential context for understanding the emergence of the digital humanities as a new field of study in this millennium.
The Open Access version of this book, available at https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203093085, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.
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.