The Video Game Theory Reader
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In the early days of Pong and Pac Man, video games appeared to be little more than an idle pastime. Today, video games make up a multi-billion dollar industry that rivals television and film.
The Video Game Theory Reader brings together exciting new work on the many ways video games are reshaping the face of entertainment and our relationship with technology. Drawing upon examples from widely popular games ranging from Space Invaders to Final Fantasy IX and Combat Flight Simulator 2, the contributors discuss the relationship between video games and other media; the shift from third- to first-person games; gamers and the gaming community; and the important sociological, cultural, industrial, and economic issues that surround gaming.
The Video Game Theory Reader is the essential introduction to a fascinating and rapidly expanding new field of media studies.
thus expected to hold quite a bit of content to demonstrate their “value.” This is why, for example, sixty-hour role-playing games are quite common as computer and console games but not as arcade games. 7. Skyler Miller, “The History of Square,” Gamespot.com (2001). Available online at
Backiel, Al. “Dinner with Bob Polaro: An interview by Al Backiel.” Available online at
the outer limits of their current mastery. The best games can adjust to the skills of their players, allowing the same product to meet the needs of a novice and a more advanced student. Indeed, the concept of advancing in “levels” structures the learning process such that players can’t advance without mastery—something that curriculum- and test-designers have struggled to build into their work. And games can enable multiple learning styles: for example, arts students might better grasp basic
will to activity that is in us. ‘We always have a need for self-activation. Indeed this is the basic need of our nature.’ In empathising with this will to activity into another object, however, we are in the other object. We are delivered from our individual being as long as we are absorbed into an external object, an external form, with our inner urge to experience.15 The player-character surrogate in the video game is, in a very concrete sense, the external object into which the player is
potentials), or triumphant aggression (if he feels that he is amply equipped for the challenge). This entails that the emotional experience will vary over time, because of the learning processes leading to a change in coping potentials. The first-time player of a game may feel despair, the more experienced player may feel a little fear, whereas the master will feel triumphant aggression. Furthermore, different players will have different emotional experiences, linked to their different expertise,