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Imaginary Games Paperback – 25 Nov 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 334 pages
  • Publisher: Zero Books (25 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846949416
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846949418
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 1.8 x 21.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,173,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

In this well-researched book Chris Bateman explores the ambiguous territory between the fictional and the real, and slays some dragons hiding therein. Highly recommended. --(Ernest Adams, Founder of the International Game Developers' Association)

A wonderfully refreshing and inventive look at games of many kinds, but especially digital games. It is seriously philosophical, but Bateman, a professional game designer, draws on a huge variety of resources far beyond the writings of academic philosophers - fascinating and fun! --(Kendall Walton, Charles Stevenson Collegiate Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Art and Design at the University of Michigan)

About the Author

Acclaimed game designer, philosopher and author Chris Bateman is an expert on play and games, and undertakes philosophical investigations in a spirit of open-minded enquiry.

Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
There's a good deal to like in Imaginary Games. While it begins by highlighting Roger Ebert's claim that `games can never be art,' thankfully it mostly avoids a hackneyed defence of games as art. It considers what games share with art, but blessedly does not try to collapse one into the other.

Most interestingly, for me, is Chris Bateman's suggestion that both games and art must be understood as representational, even in their most abstract examples. Bateman highlights Noughts and Crosses as an extreme example, the hash mark grid of which he feels `can be seen as a prop prescribing that the players imagine nine positions.' This, like much in Imaginary Games, very much rests upon Kendall Walton's prop theory - but Walton's ideas are mostly used here subtly and intelligently. It might seem a stretch to call a game of Noughts and Crosses an imaginative experience, but Bateman makes his case well and derives thought-provoking conclusions from it.

Throughout Imaginary Games, Bateman's voice is authoritative, yet playful. Anecdotes from the author's life sit alongside more serious theorizing. Bateman, I think, recognizes that to write successfully about games, there must be room in the text to reproduce the fun which lies behind most play. In both content and style, then, Imaginary Games offers a fine example for other works in this developing field.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I started reading Chris Bateman's books about game design first, out of personal interest. His clear arguments, and logical reasoning in those books convinced me to try one of his other books, where the topic is more abstract.
Imaginary Games is not an easy reading. There are a lot of references and arguments listed from other authors, to give a context and to take the readers to the level where they can now follow Mr. Bateman's reasoning. For someone coming from outside of the academia, it is a dense book that can easily cause an overload. However, I found that reading it on and off, taking it in chapter by chapter, it gives me a lot to think about, and I always feel the desire to come back to it, which is probably the greatest praise that you can give to a book.

In short, this book is a perfect stepping stone for everyone who wants to go deeper in what makes games what they are. It is much more than just a debate about whether games are art. It places the games into a higher plane, where things like ethics start to matter.
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed Imaginary Games a great deal, and it is interesting in particular in that it further explores the relation between art, fiction, and play from a philosophical perspective. Turning the question "are games art?" on its head, Bateman argues along with some other philosophers that art itself, fiction, imagination, and make-believe, all involve some form of play, an acceptance of arbitrary boundaries in order to be able to interpret art in a meaningful way.

As usual, Bateman writes very accessably, but without dumbing down his message and philosophy. An essential book if you're interested in the relation between art and play, and a good summary of some earlier thinkers' ideas as well, combined with Bateman's own perspective.
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Format: Kindle Edition
As I knew Bateman's work on game design I was really interested in seeing what Imaginary Games would be. Bateman is a solid philosopher and does a good read on art and philosophy, but it wasn't as specific as I had hoped that it would be. Not that this was a bad thing at all, but just not what I was looking for at the moment and necessarily what I felt like I had been promised. Now being familiar with this book I know how to use it and who to recommend it for. I am anxious to see what comes next from Bateman in the humanities realm.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imaginary Games is a Game Changer 29 Mar. 2012
By Kenneth R. Hannahs III - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Chris Bateman is a man of many talents, but the one I know him best is as a philosopher. I first learned of him through his blog (...)and immediately realized the importance of what he was trying to do. Games, and videogames (it's one word! Chris will tell you why) in particular are in a strange spot both intellectually and aesthetically. Mr. Bateman considers the ramifications of where games began, where they are now, and where they will be in the future with a prescience that is all at once confounding (make no mistake, the book is very dense!) and deeply relevant to the current state of videogame culture and design.

I would not recommend this book to everyone, but if you are serious about understanding the larger philosophical ideas behind videogames, Imaginary Games is all at once a primer and a master's class. Also, if you enjoyed his book, make sure to check out his blog!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy and Games 20 Feb. 2013
By dr. b. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As I knew Bateman's work on game design I was really interested in seeing what Imaginary Games would be. Bateman is a solid philosopher and does a good read on art and philosophy, but it wasn't as specific as I had hoped that it would be. Not that this was a bad thing at all, but just not what I was looking for at the moment and necessarily what I felt like I had been promised. Now being familiar with this book I know how to use it and who to recommend it for. I am anxious to see what comes next from Bateman in the humanities realm.
4.0 out of 5 stars Playing Art 4 Mar. 2013
By qwallath - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed Imaginary Games a great deal, and it is interesting in particular in that it further explores the relation between art, fiction, and play from a philosophical perspective. Turning the question "are games art?" on its head, Bateman argues along with some other philosophers that art itself, fiction, imagination, and make-believe, all involve some form of play, an acceptance of arbitrary boundaries in order to be able to interpret art in a meaningful way.

As usual, Bateman writes very accessably, but without dumbing down his message and philosophy. An essential book if you're interested in the relation between art and play, and a good summary of some earlier thinkers' ideas as well, combined with Bateman's own perspective.
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