Understanding Video Games

The Essential Introduction, 2nd Edition

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415896979
pub: 2012-07-26
US Dollars$54.95
Hardback: 9780415896962
pub: 2012-07-25
US Dollars$160.00

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About the Book

This expanded and revised second edition of Understanding Video Games provides a comprehensive introduction to the growing field of game studies.

Understanding Video Games, 2nd Edition is an essential read for newcomers to video game studies and experienced game scholars alike. This follow-up to the pioneering first edition takes video game studies into the next decade of the twenty-first century, highlighting changes in the game business, advances in video game scholarship, and recent trends in game design and development—including mobile, social, and casual gaming.

In Understanding Video Games, 2nd Edition students will:

    • Assess the major theories used to analyze games, such as ludology and narratology
    • Gain familiarity with the commercial and organizational aspects of the game industry
    • Trace the history of video games from Pong to Playstation 3 and beyond
    • Explore the aesthetics of game design
    • Evaluate the cultural position of video games
    • Consider 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 (including an interactive online version), Understanding Video Games, 2nd Edition is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in examining the ways video games are reshaping entertainment and society.


"This new edition of Understanding Video Games levels up alongside the chaotic, exciting worlds of the contemporary video game industry and game studies. It continues to be required reading for anyone interested in a thorough grounding in the history, form, culture and business of video games." Mia Consalvo, Canada Research Chair in Game Studies & Design, Concordia University

"From Angry Birds to Zork, Understanding Video Games is an adept introduction to the study of games." Jesper Juul, Visiting Assistant Arts Professor, New York University Game Center

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Studying Video Games 2. The Game Industry 3. What is a Game? 4. History 5. Video Game Aesthetics 6. Video Games in Culture 7. Narrative 8. Serious Games—When Entertainment Is Not Enough 9. Video Games and Risks Video Game Timeline. Glossary List of Games Bibliography

About the Authors

Jonas Heide Smith holds an MA in Media Studies from the University of Copenhagen and a PhD in video games from the IT University of Copenhagen. He has taught computer-mediated communication at The University of Copenhagen, The Copenhagen Business School, The IT University of Copenhagen and Roskilde University, and is the co-author of a critically acclaimed book in Danish on computer games.

Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen is CEO of Serious Games interactive. He has worked as an assistant professor at the IT University of Copenhagen teaching games and learning projects for five years, and has studied, researched and worked with computer games for over a decade. He is the author of four books on video games.

Susana Pajares Tosca holds a PhD in digital literature from the Complutense University of Madrid and is an associate professor at the IT University of Copenhagen. She has taught, researched and published widely on computer games since the mid-nineties. She is a founding editor of Game Studies, the first international peer-reviewed journal on computer game studies.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
GAMES / Video & Electronic
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies