Games Research Network

Researching analogue and digital games

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Book review: Gewalt im Computerspiel: Facetten eines Vergnügens

Gewalt im Computerspiel: Facetten eines Vergnügens

(Violence in Computer Games: Aspects of a Pleasure)

By Christoph Bareither

transcript, 2016. ISBN: 978-3837635591

Christoph Bareither’s book is an investigation into the nature of the pleasure offered by the violent aspects of computer games. The approach is neither psychological nor pedagogical, but ethnographic, and there is a deliberate avoidance of the question as to why people like violence in computer games. Given that they do, it investigates instead the nature of that pleasure. The research is based on three main bodies of evidence: an historical survey of computer games magazines covering the period from 1983 until 2014; a selection of “Let’s Play” YouTube videos; and, finally, direct comments from gamers themselves obtained through interviews and through participating in multiplayer games with them. This evidence is used by Bareither to discover the emotional experiences that players have when interacting with computer-mediated representations of physical violence.

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Events: ‘Video Games and Representation’ (May) & ‘Practice and/as Media Industry Research’ (June)

Followers of the website may be interested in these two events:

Video Games and Representation Workshop May 2017
Workshop: Representation in video games / researching representation in industry and production
May 16th UCL Knowledge Lab, Central London
Free to attend, places are limited. Please email me to reserve your place (d.carr@ucl.ac.uk)
Convenors: Diane Carr and Caroline Pelletier
Confirmed speakers: Alison Harvey, Aphra Kerr, Helen Kennedy, Ewan Kirkland, Darshana Jayemanne, William Huber, Nina Seppala, Diane Carr, Caroline Pelletier

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Book Review: Zones of Control

Zones of Control: Perspectives on Wargaming

Edited by Pat Harrigan and Matthew G. Kirschenbaum

MIT, 2016. ISBN: 9780262033992

Pat Harrigan and Matthew G. Kirschenbaum’s Zones of Control (2016) is the first book in MIT’s ‘Game Histories’ series edited by Henry Lowood and Raiford Guins whose own volume in the series, Debugging Game History: A Critical Lexicon, was published in June 2016.

While the book inaugurates Lowood and Guins’ new series, Zones of Control is the fourth of Harrigan’s collection on games and gaming to be published by MIT (following in the footsteps of First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game (2004), Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media (2007), and Third Person: Authoring and Exploring Vast Narratives (2009), all edited with Noah Wardrip-Fruin). While the latest volume sees Harrigan joined by a new co-editor the general scope and ambition of the collection will feel familiar to readers of the ‘Person’ trilogy. Zones of Control is a large and impressive volume that brings together a wide range of contributors from diverse backgrounds, writing on a topic that is itself wide ranging and diverse – namely wargaming – both tabletop and digital.

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Play Beyond the Computer

Mark R. Johnson on Bloomsbury’s new game studies series.

Following my recent post about Bloomsbury’s forthcoming series ‘Play Beyond the Computer,’ I contacted the series editor Mark R. Johnson to ask if he could tell us more about his plans for the series.  Here’s what he had to say about the rationale for the series, its impressive editorial board, and the first volumes that they’ve got lined up.

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Historia Ludens Conference – 19 May 2017

Registration is now open for the Historia Ludens conference to be held at the University of Huddersfiled on May 19th.

This conference follows up on the workshop “Playing with History” that has been held in November 2015 in Huddersfield. Gaming and History is gaining more and more traction, either as means to “gamify” history education or museum experiences, or as computer games as prism into history like the popular History Respawned podcast series (http://www.historyrespawned.com/).

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