From Pong to virtual reality, Understanding Video Games, 4th Edition, takes video game studies into the next decade of the twenty-first century, highlighting changes in the area, including mobile, social, and casual gaming.
In this new edition of the pioneering text, students learn to assess the major theories used to analyze games, such as ludology and narratology, and gain familiarity with the commercial and organizational aspects of the game industry. Drawing from historical and contemporary examples, the student-friendly text also explores the aesthetics of games, evaluates the cultural position of video games, and considers the potential effects of both violent and "serious" games.
Extensively illustrated and featuring discussion questions, a glossary of key terms, and a detailed video game history timeline, this new edition is an indispensable resource for students, scholars, and teachers interested in examining the ways video games continue to reshape entertainment and society.
Table of Contents
About the Reader/Structure of the Book/The Larger Questions
1 STUDYING VIDEO GAMES
Who Studies Video Games?/How do you Study Video Games?/Types of Analysis/Schools of Thought?
2 THE GAME INDUSTRY
The Size of the Game Industry/The Structure of the Game Industry/ The Development Process/Roles in Game Development
3 WHAT IS A GAME?
General Models for Understanding Games/The Issue of Genre
A Brief Pre-history of Video Games/Does History Matter?/A History of Video Games/The 1970s/The 1980s/The 1990s/The 2000s/ The 2010s and Beyond/Perspectives
5 VIDEO GAME AESTHETICS
Rules/Geography and Representation/Number of Players/Games without Boundaries
6 VIDEO GAMES IN CULTURE
The Cultural Position of Video Games/ The Players
Storytelling/Reception—The Player’s Experience of a Story/A Brief History of Literary Theory and Video Games / Transmedia Games / Final Remarks
8 SERIOUS GAMES AND GAMIFICATON—WHEN ENTERTAINMENT IS NOT ENOUGH
Overview and thematic areas / Games-for-change/ Games-for-Health / News Games / Political Games/Advertainment /Two research Domains / Serious Games / Gamification Final remarks
9 VIDEO GAMES AND RISKS
Two Research Perspectives/The Active Media Perspective/The Active User Perspective/Other Questions/Final Remarks
Video Game Timeline
Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen is CEO of the award-winning company Serious Games Interactive and has worked as an assistant professor at the Center for Computer Games Research at the IT University of Copenhagen.
Jonas Heide Smith is head of digital communication at SMK. He has previously taught computer-mediated communication at the University of Copenhagen, the Copenhagen Business School, the IT University of Copenhagen, and Roskilde University.
Susana Pajares Tosca is an associate professor at Roskilde University and is a founding editor of the journal Game Studies.
"Understanding Video Games: The Essential Introduction is a must-read primer for any student considering game studies. A handbook that is clear, precise, up-to-date and extremely useful for tackling video games, a cultural and technical phenomenon of great complexity and full of nuances." -- Belen Mainer Blance, Professor and Director of the Videogames Department at University Francisco de Vitoria
Praise for the previous edition:
"A user-friendly, eminently readable account that has something to offer to both the neophyte and the specialist, Understanding Video Games is the text that is needed to secure a durable place for game studies in the academic curriculum." -- Marie-Laure Ryan, author of Narrative as Virtual Reality: Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media
"As the core text for my introductory games course, Understanding Video Games has remained an essential guide since its first edition. Ever attentive to the practicalities of classroom needs, this superb update presents its most complete and accessible overview of game studies yet." -- Soraya Murray, University of California, Santa Cruz
"Understanding Video Games is an admirably comprehensive treatment of the video game industry, history, culture, and theory. This new edition remains the best general textbook I've found for teaching video games in the college classroom." -- Alf Seegert, University of Utah