1st Edition

Traveling through Video Games

By Tom van Nuenen Copyright 2024
    118 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book unlocks an understanding of video games as virtual travel. It explains how video game design increasingly takes cues from the promotional language of tourism, and how this connection raises issues of power and commodification.

    Bridging the disciplinary gap between game and tourism studies, the book offers a comprehensive account of touristic gazing in games such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Minecraft, and Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. Traveling through video games involves a mythological promise of open-ended opportunity, summarized in the slogan you can go there. Van Nuenen discusses the scale of game worlds, the elusive nature of freedom and control, and the pivotal role of work in creating a sense of belonging. The logic of tourism is fundamentally consumptive—but through design choices, players can also be invited to approach their travels more critically. This is the difference between moving through a game world, and being moved by it.

    This interdisciplinary and innovative study will interest students and scholars of digital media studies, game studies, tourism and technology, and the Digital Humanities.

    1.    Introduction 

    2.    It’s All Under Control

    3.    King of the Sandbox 

    4.    Bigger on the Inside 

    5.    You Can Stay Here 

    6.    When Here Becomes There 

    7.    Conclusion


    Tom van Nuenen is a researcher and educator in data science and algorithmic culture. He works as a Lecturer and Assistant Project Scientist at the University of California at Berkeley, USA.