Games Research Network

Researching analogue and digital games

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CFP: Casino Games and Classic Card Games

Followers of the blog may be interested in the cfp below. Just as interesting is the news that this is part of a what sounds like a really exciting new series coming from Bloomsbury Academic.

We are soliciting chapter proposals for a volume tentatively entitled The Casino Games and Classic Card Games Reader: Communities, Cultures, and Play. This volume would be the first in a new series under consideration at Bloomsbury Academic entitled Play Beyond the Computer.

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Warlock of Firetop Mountain – From Analogue to Digital

First, a moment of disclosure. I like actual – I’m trying to avoid the word real– things. I read David Sax’s recent book The Revenge of Analog with pleasure, nodding along at all the right moments, and generally subscribing to the argument of the book’s subtitle, that ‘real things matter.’ I’m also a long-standing fan of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone’s Fighting Fantasy Adventure Gamebooks, a series I read when it was first released in the 1980s, and on which I’ve written before in an attempt to confirm my sense that the print form has affordances that don’t translate easily to the digital realm. So, when I downloaded Tin Man Games’ reboot of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain I did so with a set of preconceptions – pre-formed questions at least – that make it necessary to say that what follows isn’t so much a review of the app – which would require a measure of concern for the intended player-readers — as a series of thoughts on the remediation of Jackson and Livingstone’s first gamebook into a new digital format.

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Book Review: Understanding Counterplay in Video Games

Understanding Counterplay in Video Games

By Alan F. Meades

London: Routledge: 2014. ISBN: 9781138804920

An insightful and interesting read, Alan F. Meades’ Understanding Counterplay in Video Games explores one of the most problematic issues within multiplayer video games: the antisocial and oppositional forms of play, such as cheating, hacking, griefing and illicit game modifications, which is known collectively as ‘counterplay’. Meades’ intention is to reframe the debate, away from the suggestion that these acts are simply ‘childish’ or ‘malicious’, to recognise the meaningful value(s) that counter players attribute to transgressing the authority of game rules. The book shows that the motivation to cheat the game, modify the system or grief another player, is a complex and often contradictory experience, one which reveals a key tension within Western play philosophy: that violent, destructive and unrestricted play is not only pleasurable, but often provides the impetus for social and political change. Meades navigates this argument carefully, across seven chapters, and draws from ethnographic research with counter players to consider the moral imperative(s) that underwrite their transgressive behaviour.

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The cost of eSports

Brendan Sinclair’s gamesindustry.biz article ‘eSports market to hit $696 million this year’ confirms the exponential growth of eSports, predicting a continued rise in the eSports economy with figures predicted to rise by 41.3% in 2017 from an estimated $493 million in 2016. By 2020 Newzoo (providers of market intelligence covering the global games, esports, and mobile markets) predict that the eSports market will reach $1.5 Billion. You can read Sinclair’s analysis in full here.

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Book Review – Connected Gaming

Connected Gaming – What Making Video Games Can Teach Us about Learning and Literacy

By Yasmin B. Kafai and Quinn Burke

MIT Press, 2016. ISBN: 9780262035378

This book presents an introduction to the ‘Connected Gaming’ approach of using video games for learning, advocating for an integrated methodology that encompasses both an instructionist and a constructionist mindset. Central to this thesis is that for students to maximise their learning it is essential for them to not only play video games but to make them as well. The authors of this book build on the work of the noted gaming scholar James Paul Gee, and indeed the title is itself an homage to Gee’s 2003 text What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy.

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