Games Research Network

Researching analogue and digital games

Category: books (page 1 of 3)

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

Book Review – Tabletop Gaming Manual

Tabletop Gaming Manual
Matt Thrower
Haynes Manuals, 2018
ISBN: 1785211498

This new book from games journalist Matt Thrower is published by Haynes Publishing, who are perhaps best known for their car, motorcycle, scooter and ATV manuals, and who in recent years have developed an interesting and lucrative sideline in General Interest Manuals, with topics ranging from Zombie Survival to the Imperial Death Star. With such a wide range of fan culture on offer, it was surely only a matter of times before tabletop games got the Haynes treatment, and in Matt Thrower (who as well as his excellent Fortress blog is perhaps best known for his work with Shut up and Sit Down) they have the ideal gamer for the job. read more

Book review – Hamlet on the Holodeck

Hamlet on the Holodeck:
The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace
(Updated Edition)
Janet H. Murray
Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2017
ISBN: 9780262533485
 

Twenty years on from the publication of Janet H. Murray’s Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace, The MIT Press have published an updated edition of the book originally published by The Free Press in 1997. That the book is deserving of such an update is not in question, its impact on those working on literature, narrative, technology, and games, was and remains significant (as is easily demonstrated by its ever- growing number of citations) and it well deserves its position as a landmark of literary criticism and digital culture. read more

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