Forty original contributions on games and gaming culture
What does Pokémon Go tell us about globalization? What does Tetris teach us about rules? Is feminism boosted or bashed by Kim Kardashian: Hollywood? How does BioShock Infinite help us navigate world-building?
From arcades to Atari, and phone apps to virtual reality headsets, video games have been at the epicenter of our ever-evolving technological reality. Unlike other media technologies, video games demand engagement like no other, which begs the question—what is the role that video games play in our lives, from our homes, to our phones, and on global culture writ large?
How to Play Video Games brings together forty original essays from today’s leading scholars on video game culture, writing about the games they know best and what they mean in broader social and cultural contexts. Read about avatars in Grand Theft Auto V, or music in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. See how Age of Empires taught a generation about postcolonialism, and how Borderlands exposes the seedy underbelly of capitalism. These essays suggest that understanding video games in a critical context provides a new way to engage in contemporary culture. They are a must read for fans and students of the medium.
"Across a broad range of diverse and accessible perspectives on gaming culture from many of the leading authorities in the field, Payne and Huntemann offer a valuable companion to those interested in the past and present of the games we play."
"This text is an approachable and relevant edited collection of essays that examine a broad array of video games through a critical academic lens. Despite its title, this book is not a guide on how to play video games, as is explained by the editors in the introduction, but can be a provocation to reflect on deeper aspects of culture and media while playing them… this text is an excellent introduction to game studies. It is also a valuable resource for any course that includes content related to gaming, such as media studies, digital studies, STS (science, technology, society), sociology of games/media, and literary analysis of games as text."
"An indispensable collection of original key terms and case studiesall the best scholarship in the field is here. Canonical voices in the field as well as a newer generation of scholars bring welcome approaches to ethics, labor, race, gender, sexuality, capitalism, and affect to the table. Anyone can read this carefully curated book; everyone should."