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How to Do Things with Videogames (Electronic Mediations)by Ian Bogost
Synopses & Reviews
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.
Book News Annotation:
Taking the position that computers and technology are tools that will neither save nor destroy civilization, Boost (digital media, Georgia Institute of Technology), explores video games as a modern cultural medium. Suggesting that content is not as inessential as McLuhan had claimed, and that the message and the medium are not necessarily one and the same, Bogost uses lots of examples from the spectrum of video games and video game history to show the art and playfulness in video games, and how games can be used for many purposes including relaxation, titillation, as advertising and branding, in work, in politics, and in many other creative and sometimes surprising ways. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A fresh look at computer games as a mature mass medium with unlimited potential for cultural transformation
About the Author
Ian Bogost is professor of digital media at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His books include Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames and Newsgames: Journalism at Play.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Media Microecology
Conclusion: The End of Gamers
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