Games Research Network

Researching analogue and digital games

Tag: Video Games (page 1 of 2)

Are Video Games a Waste of Time?

One of the members of the Games Research Network, Tom Brock, was recently interviewed by the BBC World Service for their flagship investigative program ‘The Inquiry.’ You can check it out here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csv1bv

Tom appears at about 17:30 in, where he extols the wonders of Dark Souls, compares video gamers to piano players, discusses the useful skills that are developed by gamers, and reveals the joys of “punishing himself with puzzles.” read more

Deconstructing the Monolith: The subjective Experience of avatar use in gamers

A group of Researchers from the MMU Department of Psychology are recruiting participants for an interview study looking at the way gamers interact with video game avatars that resemble themselves.

Digital self-representations entered the mainstream with the release of the Wii in 2006. Consumers were able to quickly create quirky avatars that resembled them and then use these as in game characters. The success of this feature prompted many other developers to include digital self-representations in their products. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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