Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Encyclopedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology, and Art of Gaming

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Encyclopedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology, and Art of Gaming

Article excerpt

Encyclopedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology, and Art of Gaming. Ed. by Mark J. P Wolf. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2012. 2 vols. acid free $189 (ISBN 978-0-313-37936-9). E-book available (978-0-313-37937-6), call for pricing.

Video game scholarship is growing up and moving out of the basement, thanks in part to the growing body of work analyzing video games, researching the historical roots of electronic games, and studying gaming culture. The Encyclopedia of Video Games begins to fill a gap in reference material, providing selective coverage of systems, key figures, and other content associated with this pastime in short (generally two to four pages) entries.

Many entries provide surprisingly detailed historical information on topics such as hacking, tracing its evolution in popular culture through films, books, and in the context of gaming. Casual browsers or student researchers will enjoy the stories of the origins and legacies of arcade staples like the iconic Pac-Man, while the connection between Atari founder Nolan Bushnell and the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant chain may surprise. An effort is made to go beyond the major video game markets by including information on emerging markets in South America and Africa.

Company histories of game makers and systems such as Sega, Nintendo, Atari, and Electronic Arts (EA) collect knowledge of industry people and events in one title; the entries are not organized similarly, though, so comparisons between companies' marketing strategies, for example, cannot be made. The tone of the entries ranges from philosophical to scholarly to fact-based to informal, with references to further readings in journal articles and on websites. …

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