Games Research Network

Researching analogue and digital games

Category: Reviews (page 1 of 4)

Knowledge Games by Karen Schrier

Knowledge Games: How Playing Games can Solve Problems, Create Insight, and Make Change 

Karen Schrier 

Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016.

ISBN: 9781421419206

Karen Schrier, Associate Professor of Games/Interactive Media, Director of the Play Innovation Lab, and Director of the Games and Emerging Media at Marist College (NY), presents a fantastic volume on knowledge games, which she defines as games that, “produce knowledge; solve authentic, applicable problems; or generate new ideas and possibilities for real-world change (25).”  Although compared alongside serious and persuasive games which also seek topical insight (see Michael & Chen and Bogost, respectively), the clear delineator is that knowledge games ideally produce knowledge that did not exist before.  Dr. Schrier’s overall argument is that a well-designed knowledge game synergizes human ingenuity and spatial reasoning with computer processing power and storage capacity to produce new and quality data at large scale. read more

The Dark Side of Game Play

The Dark Side of Game Play: Controversial Issues in Playful Environments

Torill Elvira Mortensen, Jonas Linderoth, and Ashley ML Brown (eds)

London: Routledge, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-138-54867-1

While it has been out for some time, The Dark Side of Game Play: Controversial Issues in Playful Environments (Routledge, 2015), proved to be such an interesting and thought-provoking collection that it seemed that a short review was in order. Edited by Torill Elvira Mortensen, Jonas Linderoth, and Ashley ML Brown, the book brings together fifteen essays on the subject of ‘Dark Play’, a topic that might immediately suggest Gothic horror but which, it turns out, is an extremely diverse area capable of sustaining arguments across a huge range of topics. read more

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

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

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