Games Research Network

Researching analogue and digital games

Category: Reviews (page 1 of 4)

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

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

‘Eat Who I Eat’: Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tour

Assassin's Creed Origins

I am a (not uncritical) fan of historical murder-simulation franchise Assassin’s Creed, and I’ve played pretty much every major entry in the series since it began, often gritting my teeth at the bad plot and violence to explore the worlds of Renaissance Italy, Victorian London and Revolutionary Paris. I’m also an educationalist and former history teacher, so when Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tour: Ancient Egypt was announced I was intrigued by the concept of learning history through playing what is usually a blockbuster game. The first thing that came into my head was this joke from the classic Simpsons episode ‘Marge vs The Monorail’, when Springfield Elementary School’s budget looks to be getting a huge boost: 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

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