Introduction to Game Analysisserves as an accessible guide to analyzing games using strategies borrowed from textual analysis. Clara Fernández-Vara’s concise primer provides instruction on the basic building blocks of game analysis—examination of context, content and reception, and formal qualities—as well as the vocabulary necessary for talking about videogames' distinguishing characteristics. Examples are drawn from a range of games, both digital and non-digital—from Bioshock and World of Warcraft to Monopoly—and the book provides a variety of exercises and sample analyses, as well as a comprehensive ludography and glossary.
Clara Fernández-Varais Associate Arts Professor at the Game Center, New York University. She teaches courses on videogame theory and game narrative, and works as a freelance game designer and writer. As a researcher, her main interest is in exploring the integration of stories and gameplay, as well as developing theoretical frameworks to understand games better.
Key concepts and theories are illustrated with discussion of games taken from different historical phases of game culture. Progressing from the simple, yet engaging gameplay of Pong and text-based adventure games to the complex virtual worlds of contemporary online games, the book guides students towards analytical appreciation and critical engagement with gaming and game studies.
Students will learn to:
- Understand and analyse different aspects of phenomena we recognise as 'game' and play'
- Identify the key developments in digital game design through discussion of action in games of the 1970s, fiction and adventure in games of the 1980s, three-dimensionality in games of the 1990s, and social aspects of gameplay in contemporary online games
- Understand games as dynamic systems of meaning-making
- Interpret the context of games as 'culture' and subculture
- Analyse the relationship between technology and interactivity and between 'game' and 'reality'
- Situate games within the context of digital culture and the information society
With further reading suggestions, images, exercises, online resources and a whole chapter devoted to preparing students to do their own game studies project, An Introduction to Game Studies is the complete toolkit for all students pursuing the study of games.
The companion website at www.sagepub.co.uk/mayra contains slides and assignments that are suitable for self-study as well as for classroom use. Students will also benefit from online resources at www.gamestudiesbook.net, which will be regularly blogged and updated by the author.
Professor Frans Mäyrä is a Professor of Games Studies and Digital Culture at the Hypermedia Laboratory in the University of Tampere, Finland.
Most obviously, the physical deterioration of discs, cartridges, consoles and controllers means that the data and devices will crumble to dust and eventually will be lost forever. However, there is more to the disappearance of videogames than plastic corrosion and bit rot. Best Before examines how the videogames industry's retail, publishing, technology design, advertising and marketing practices actively produce obsolescence, wearing out and retiring old games to make way for the always new, just out of reach, 'coming soon' title and 'next generation' platform.
Set against the context of material deterioration and the discursive production of obsolescence, Best Before examines the conceptual and practical challenges faced within the nascent field of game preservation. Understanding videogames as rich, complex and mutable texts and experiences that are supported and sustained by cultures of gameplay and fandom, Best Before considers how - and even whether - we might preserve and present games for future generations.
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.”
Written as an introductory text for media and game students this book aims present an overview of industry and scholary work on who makes games, where they get made, what kind of media and cultural form they are and who plays them and where.
The Business and Culture of Digital Games looks at:
- games as a new media form;
- the design, development and marketing of games;
- the use of games in public and private spaces.
Combining a theoretical and empirical analysis of the production, content and consumption of computer games, this book will be of interest to many students of media, culture and communication.
James Newman details the rich array of activities that surround game-playing, charting the vibrant and productive practices of the vast number of videogame players and the extensive 'shadow' economy of walkthroughs, FAQs, art, narratives, online discussion boards and fan games, as well as the cultures of cheating, copying and piracy that have emerged.
Playing with Videogames offers the reader a comprehensive understanding of the meanings of videogames and videogaming within the contemporary media environment.
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