The Pleasures of Computer Gaming: Essays on Cultural History, Theory and Aesthetics
This collection of essays situates the digital gaming phenomenon alongside broader debates in cultural and media studies. Contributors to this volume maintain that computer games are not simply toys, but rather circulate as commodities, new media technologies, and items of visual culture that are embedded in complex social practices. Apart from placing games within longer arcs of cultural history and broader critical debates, the contributors to this volume all adopt a pedagogical and theoretical approach to studying games and gameplay, drawing on the interdisciplinary resources of the humanities and social sciences, particularly new media studies. In eight essays, the authors develop rich and nuanced understandings of the aesthetic appeals and pleasurable engagements of digital gameplay. Topics include the role of “cheats” and “easter eggs” in influencing cheating as an aesthetic phenomenon of gameplay; the relationship between videogames, gambling, and addiction; players’ aesthetic and kinaesthetic interactions with computing technology; and the epistemology and phenomenology of popular strategy-based wargames and their relationship with real-world military applications. Notes and a bibliography accompany each essay, and the work includes several screenshots, images, and photographs.
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