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Handbook of Computer Game Studies [Hardcover]

Joost Raessens , Jeffrey Goldstein

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Book Description

1 July 2005
New media students, teachers, and professionals have long needed a comprehensive scholarly treatment of digital games that deals with the history, design, reception, and aesthetics of games along with their social and cultural context. The Handbook of Computer Game Studies fills this need with a definitive look at the subject from a broad range of perspectives. Contributors come from cognitive science and artificial intelligence, developmental, social, and clinical psychology, history, film, theater, and literary studies, cultural studies, and philosophy as well as game design and development. The text includes both scholarly articles and journalism from such well-known voices as Douglas Rushkoff, Sherry Turkle, Henry Jenkins, Katie Salen, Eric Zimmerman, and others.Part I considers the "prehistory" of computer games (including slot machines and pinball machines), the development of computer games themselves, and the future of mobile gaming. The chapters in part II describe game development from the designer's point of view, including the design of play elements, an analysis of screenwriting, and game-based learning. Part III reviews empirical research on the psychological effects of computer games, and includes a discussion of the use of computer games in clinical and educational settings. Part IV considers the aesthetics of games in comparison to film and literature, and part V discusses the effect of computer games on cultural identity, including gender and ethnicity. Finally, part VI looks at the relation of computer games to social behavior, considering, among other matters, the inadequacy of laboratory experiments linking games and aggression and the different modes of participation in computer game culture.

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About the Author

Jeffrey Goldstein is Professor in the Department of Social and Organizational Psychology at the University of Utrecht.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dry, boring, clueless, and out-of-date 13 Dec 2008
By David Wessman - Published on
I inherited this book as the official textbook for a class I teach on Games and Society. It is excruciatingly boring, and not just because the majority of the articles are festooned with citations of dubious research every 2nd or 3rd sentence. Most of the authors seem to be exceptionally ignorant of video game culture and what it means to play video games. When the conclusions that many of them reach are valid, they are also painfully obvious to anyone who regularly plays games. When the conclusions they reach are highly suspect or flat-out wrong, (all too often the case), this is also painfully obvious to anyone who regularly plays games.

Part of the problem may simply be that most of the studies cited were done more than 10-20 years ago. In a field as rapidly evolving as computer games, the research cited ought to focus more on studies involving games published in the last 5-10 years.

I appreciate the effort to study computer games with more academic rigor and the need for computer game studies to be taken seriously, but this book fails. It has all the trappings of a scholarly work, but lacks meaningful insight or worthwhile analysis. I hope the publisher commissions a second volume with more current research. Hopefully, the authors will include people who are a lot more familiar with games, perhaps even members of the game development community with proven track records in making games that are critically and commercially successful.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Only bought for school reasons 28 Feb 2009
By Adrian Møller Haugan - Published on
Only bought this book because it was on my syllibus for a class in University. The book itself is very outdated, bad written and unorganized! Can only recommend it if you HAVE to buy it!
3.0 out of 5 stars Berglund Center for Internet Studies Review by Jeffrey Barlow 26 April 2011
By Berglund Center for Internet Studies - Published on
Like all massive edited compilation, Handbook of Computer Game Studies has something for almost everybody interested in its topic area, but much that will not interest any particular reader. The book, for me, is defined by its sheer size. It is in an 8.5 X 11 format, and has 27 articles extending over 450 pages. It is intended to be definitive as of its publication date in 2005. However, due to the inevitable lag in hard copy publication processes, it is probably better thought of as definitive as of 2004. This means, of course, in this very rapidly moving field, that some of the content has been outdated by much more recent publications on the web itself, or in more nimble hard-copy journals.

For a full review see Interface, Volume 6, Issue 5.
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