Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Half-Real: Video Games Between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds” as Want to Read:
Half-Real: Video Games Between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Half-Real: Video Games Between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  180 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
A video game is half-real: we play by real rules while imagining a fictional world. We win or lose the game in the real world, but we slay a dragon (for example) only in the world of the game. In this thought-provoking study, Jesper Juul examines the constantly evolving tension between rules and fiction in video games. Discussing games from "Pong" to "The Legend of Zelda," ...more
Hardcover, 233 pages
Published November 4th 2005 by MIT Press (MA)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Half-Real, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Half-Real

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 523)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 19, 2011 Cat rated it really liked it
This is an excellent outline of the field of game studies, suitable for not only students and researchers but also independent readers. Juul gives an efficient but thorough overview of prominent theories and theorists in the field, using tables and charts to show where different concepts and ideas overlap. He then combines what he considers to be the best aspects of many of the theories into his own comprehensive definition of a game.

He also uses web content to good effect, linking to games and
Stacey Mason
Jan 22, 2013 Stacey Mason rated it really liked it
Shelves: research
Even 7 years after its publication Half-Real remains a landmark moment in the development of Game Studies as a field. Juul's approach to games bridges a formal analysis of their rules and systems with a nuanced approach to their fiction. Half-Real offers several useful, citable definitions and concepts and provides good outlines and approaches to exploring games, particularly through their formal qualities.

That said, the book is not without problems. As with any book in which the primarily goal
Michael Suen
Apr 30, 2013 Michael Suen rated it really liked it
The so-called "narratology vs. ludology" debate in game studies can be a beast of discourse to start studying from square one, and Juul does a good job of outlining the tensions that have been expressed over a decade of back-and-forth. It's the second time I've read Half-Real, and it's been valuable to return to this book in light of recent conversations around the rejection of formalism in personal, "zinester" games. It's clear that Juul still primarily views games as systems of rules and of pl ...more
Jun 15, 2014 Renee rated it really liked it
I also read this book for a class, the concepts were quite interesting.
Phil Oppenheim
Jul 19, 2011 Phil Oppenheim rated it liked it
"The intention of this book has been to create a basic theory of video games .... the entire theory can ... be described as the intersection between games as rules and games as fiction, and the relation between the game, the player and the world" (p 197). If that sort of musing strikes you as mindblowing, you'll like encountering the many iterations of the idea through this brief, serious discussion of video games. If not, and you remain unconvinced about the aesthetic value(s) of games, well, t ...more
Nov 26, 2012 Shane rated it really liked it
An excellent and important book to mark a beginning of computer game theory, Juul's writing and particular subject matter make the book a little dogged to read at times, and a touch repetitive. Still, the ideas are overall fascinating, and the distinction of games as defined by rules and/or fiction leads to a lot of philosophical questioning. A must-read for anyone dealing with technology in any way, and all-in-all a terrific book.
Apr 25, 2012 Joy rated it really liked it
An interesting read. I particularly appreciated his extensive consideration of the definition of games and video games, looking at several other games scholars for patterns. There was another chapter that focused on games and fictional narrative that helps showcase the difference between games and traditiona stories, but the similarities too.
Feb 10, 2012 Timothy rated it really liked it
A very solid title. While I wouldn't recommend it for someone who wanted casual insight into the critical study of video games, it is a crucial resource for the researcher. There is much thorough and clear-headed analysis to serve as a springboard for future investigations.
Robert Bryant
Jan 31, 2015 Robert Bryant rated it really liked it
Very worthwhile and readable discussion of the "Mario vs. Aristotle" question. Juul is a very engaging writer and I look forward to reading his other works.
Mar 21, 2009 Dirk rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gaming, game-design
Wow, wenn mich jemand fragt, was "Game Design" eigentlich ist, werde ich ihm dieses Buch in die Hand drücken.
Bryan Ma
Jun 04, 2012 Bryan Ma rated it really liked it
Game studies has progressed quite a bit in the last seven years but this remains a strong, nuanced outline.
Jordi De Paco
Jordi De Paco marked it as to-read
Jun 22, 2016
Adam Siu
Adam Siu marked it as to-read
Jun 19, 2016
Carolina marked it as to-read
Jun 19, 2016
Billy Bob
Billy Bob marked it as to-read
Jun 18, 2016
Bo Wu
Bo Wu marked it as to-read
Jun 17, 2016
Taymour Siddiqui
Taymour Siddiqui marked it as to-read
Jun 13, 2016
Paulina marked it as to-read
Jun 08, 2016
Ondřej Trhoň
Ondřej Trhoň marked it as to-read
Jun 07, 2016
Arthur Wyckoff
Arthur Wyckoff rated it really liked it
May 29, 2016
Olivia Dunlap
Olivia Dunlap marked it as to-read
May 27, 2016
Louis Dias
Louis Dias marked it as to-read
May 27, 2016
Jerry Petersen
Jerry Petersen marked it as to-read
May 24, 2016
elise jakob
elise jakob marked it as to-read
May 23, 2016
Niclas marked it as to-read
May 23, 2016
Nyx marked it as to-read
May 21, 2016
Michella marked it as to-read
May 21, 2016
Barbara Girard
Barbara Girard marked it as to-read
May 17, 2016
Fabien marked it as to-read
May 17, 2016
Kenneth Faigh
Kenneth Faigh marked it as to-read
May 11, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 17 18 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism
  • Critical Play: Radical Game Design
  • First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game
  • Trigger Happy: Videogames and the Entertainment Revolution
  • Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature
  • Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace
  • Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals
  • Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming
  • Designing Virtual Worlds
  • Game Feel: A Game Designer's Guide to Virtual Sensation
  • Rise of the Videogame Zinesters: How Freaks, Normals, Amateurs, Artists, Dreamers, Drop-outs, Queers, Housewives, and People Like You Are Taking Back an Art Form
  • Man, Play and Games
  • Replay: The History of Video Games
  • Chris Crawford on Game Design
  • Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction
  • What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy
  • Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture
  • A Theory of Fun for Game Design
Jesper Juul is Visiting Assistant Professor at the New York University Game Center. He is the author of Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds and A Casual Revolution: Reinventing Video Games and Their Players, both published by MIT Press.
More about Jesper Juul...

Share This Book