Do video games cause violent, aggressive behavior? Can online games help us learn? When it comes to video games, these are often the types of questions raised by popular media, policy makers, scholars, and the general public. In this collection, international experts review the latest research findings in the field of digital game studies and weigh in on the actual physical, social, and psychological effects of video games. Taking a broad view of the industry from the moral panic of its early days up to recent controversies surrounding games like Grand Theft Auto, contributors explore the effects of games through a range of topics including health hazards/benefits, education, violence and aggression, addiction, cognitive performance, and gaming communities. Interdisciplinary and accessibly written, The Video Game Debate reveals that the arguments surrounding the game industry are far from black and white, and opens the door to richer conversation and debate amongst students, policy makers, and scholars alike.
"This is a terrific introduction to the new wave of social science research on games and gamers, putting objectivity ahead of subjectivity, and open-mindedness ahead of dogma. For over a decade, there has been a widening gulf between research on the effects of video games and the experience of game-players themselves. Finally, with this book, we see media studies that aren’t themselves born of media effects – and it’s both revolutionary and revelatory." —Richard A. Bartle, University of Essex, UK
"The Video Game Debate is one of the most unique video game publications on the market today. I am highly impressed at the amount of research that was done on the various topics, as well as the editing and compiling done by Kowert and Quandt… Overall, this book should not be missed as the information provided is invaluable to find all in one place… I truly cannot think of any book that comes anywhere close to The Video Game Debate." —Chris Chandler, www.gamingwithswag.com
"Kowert (independent scholar with a PhD is psychology) and Quandt (online communication, Univ. of Münster, Germany) offer a collection of concise academic ruminations on the physical, social, and psychological impact of video games. The editors and their fellow contributors bring to their essays perspectives that come primarily from the fields of psychology and game studies. Together the essays provide a balanced, analytical approach to a range of issues and controversies, among them video game violence and compulsive playing. The essays are more approachable than academic white papers, but readers new to psychology may find certain parts challenging. Likewise, though the volume is thoroughly referenced, those who are unfamiliar with the many video games mentioned may need to do additional research." - A. Chen, Cogswell College, CHOICE
1. A Brief History of Video Games James D. Ivory 2. The Rise (and Refinement) of Moral Panic Nicholas D. Bowman 3. Are Electronic Games Health Hazards or Health Promoters? Cheryl K. Olson 4. The Influence of Digital Games on Aggression and Violent Crime Mark Coulson and Christopher J. Ferguson 5. Gaming Addiction and Internet Gaming Disorder Mark D. Griffiths 6. Social outcomes: Online game play, social currency, and social ability Rachel Kowert 7. Debating How to Learn From Video Games John L. Sherry 8. Video Games and Cognitive Performance Gillian Dale and C. Shawn Green 9. Exploring Gaming Communities Frans Mäyrä 10. No black and white in video game land! Why we need to move beyond simple explanations in the video game debate Thorsten Quandt and Rachel Kowert