Games Research Network

Researching analogue and digital games

Book Review: A Play of Bodies: How We Perceive Videogames

A Play of Bodies: How We Perceive Videogames

By Brendan Keogh

MIT Press, 2018. ISBN 9780262037631

The cult comedy videogames site Old Man Murray developed an innovative and completely objective ‘time to crate’ review system, whereby games would be assessed on the amount of time elapsed between the start of the game and the first crate that the player sees. Often (in the late 1990s and early 2000s) this would be a matter of seconds, leading to some incredibly low scoring reviews. I sometimes feel that a similar system might be required for games studies books; often you can go into a title knowing that it’s going to mention Rez, Proteus, and the Psycho Mantis fight from Metal Gear Solid. It’s just a matter of when rather than if. When I flicked through Brendan Keogh’s new book A Play of Bodies: How We Perceive Videogames (2018) and saw these titles mentioned again, I got a horrible feeling of déjà vu; however, the approach that Keogh takes to even the most ubiquitously discussed games is so refreshing that I quickly abandoned any preconceptions as to where the book would take me. read more

Book Review: Role-Playing Game Studies: Transmedia Foundations

Role-Playing Game Studies: Transmedia Foundations

Edited by Sebastian Deterding and José Zagal

Routledge, 2018. ISBN:9780815369202

Originally conceived during discussions amongst the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) Role-Playing Studies Special Interest Group, this impressive volume represents an essential collection of essays and perspectives for any scholar currently researching, or thinking about researching, Role Playing Games (RPGs). With contributors ranging from internationally renowned academics (e.g. Staffan Björk and Sarah Lynne Bowman) to games designers (Moyra Turkington) and experts in narrative design (Whitney Beltrán), this compendium presents a multifaceted and holistic approach to the consideration of the subject. read more

Book Review: Horror Video Games edited by Bernard Perron

Horror Video Games: Essays on the Fusion of Fear and Play

Edited by Bernard Perron

McFarland & Co, 2009. ISBN 978-0786441976

As a fan of horror video games, the rush of being low on ammo in Resident Evil 2 is something that academic texts usually don’t live up to. However, Bernard Perron’s edited collection Horror Video Games: Essays on the Fusion of Fear and Play (2009) is about as close as it gets. Perron, the author of Silent Hill: The Terror Engine (2012) and The World of Scary Video Games (2018) as well as the co-editor of The Video Game Theory Reader (2003) and The Video Game Theory Reader 2 (2009), weaves together both academic and industry voices into the first horror reader for Game Studies. We’re fortunate that the first, and as of this writing only, game in town is a real horrorshow. read more

Undergraduate Scholarship: Magic the Gathering

In the academic year 2017-18, our Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Manchester Metropolitan University launched a number of Undergraduate Scholarships. These Scholarships were designed to support research within our faculty by providing funding to second-year students to act as research assistants to members of academic staff. The funding would be for a period of five weeks over the summer, and would therefore be ideal for research projects that would benefit from an intense fixed-term engagement. I am the academic researcher for one of these Undergraduate Scholarships, and I am using the support to look at world-building in Magic the Gathering. read more

The Board Game Book

In a special guest post, games journalist Owen Duffy tells us what on earth possessed him to put together a book about board games, and then launch it on Kickstarter.

When I tell people I’m working on a book about board games, I get a range  of responses. Everything from: “That’s great!,” to: “That sounds like hard work,” to: “That’s nice, sir, but would you like a bag with your shopping?” read more

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