Game Cultures: Computer Games as New Media

Game Cultures: Computer Games as New Media

Game Cultures: Computer Games as New Media

Game Cultures: Computer Games as New Media


This book introduces the critical concepts and debates that are shaping the emerging field of game studies. Exploring games in the context of cultural studies and media studies, it analyses computer games as the most popular contemporary form of new media production and consumption.

The book:

  • Argues for the centrality of play in redefining reading, consuming and creating culture
  • Offers detailed research into the political economy of games to generate a model of new media production
  • Examines the dynamics of power in relation to both the production and consumption of computer games
This is key reading for students, academics and industry practitioners in the fields of cultural studies, new media, media studies and game studies, as well as human-computer interaction and cyberculture.


Science fiction writer William Gibson once recalled the day in the early 1980s when he strolled past the video arcades on Vancouver's Granville Street, and was struck by the curious manner in which players were transfixed by the flashing screens. 'I could see in the physical intensity of their postures how rapt the kids were,' he told Time magazine years later. 'It was like a feedback loop, with photons coming off the screens into the kids' eyes, neurons moving through their bodies and electrons moving through the video game. These kids clearly believed in the space the games projected.' Gibson's dystopian novel Neuromancer, published in 1984, provided a chilling depiction of this virtual realm, which he characterised as 'cyberspace' in keeping with his sense of the young game players' engagement with it. 'They develop a belief that there's some kind of actual space behind the screen,' he added. 'Some place that you can't see but you know is there.'

Something about the strangely elusive quality of this engagement will resonate, I suspect, with everyone who has ever played a computer game. And yet efforts to attend to it in theoretical terms, while seemingly straightforward enough, promptly bump up against the limits of our current vocabulary. It is all too apparent, it seems to me, that new concepts need to be crafted in order to describe it – let alone explain its affectivity – with an adequate degree of precision. It is this rather daunting challenge that Jon Dovey and Helen W. Kennedy's Game Cultures: Computer Games as New Media addresses with remarkable flair and imagination. The scope of its purview stretches from the political economy of the games industry on a global scale, on the one hand, to the individual gamer at play in everyday contexts, on the other. At the same time, they also examine new co-creative spaces of cultural embodiment, where familiar academic distinctions between production and consumption are rendered problematic. For Dovey and Kennedy, technological competencies, cultural tastes and ritualised interactivity can be shown to combine in complex ways to form what they call 'technicities'

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