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Gaming: Essays On Algorithmic Culture
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Gaming: Essays On Algorithmic Culture

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  91 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Video games have been a central feature of the cultural landscape for over twenty years and now rival older media like movies, television, and music in popularity and cultural influence. Yet there have been relatively few attempts to understand the video game as an independent medium. Most such efforts focus on the earliest generation of text-based adventures (Zork, for ex ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published May 27th 2006 by Univ Of Minnesota Press (first published 2006)
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Philip Cherny
This book heavily stresses the cinema-studies approach to video games—sometimes to such an extent that I wonder how much experience Mr. Galloway has actually had playing video games. For instance, in the first chapter, he suggests that the “subjective” first-person perspective in shooter games ultimately derives from conventions established in film. Sure okay, but he distinguishes them as such: “Where film uses the subjective shot to represent a problem with identification, games uses the subjec ...more
This is one of those books where the subtitle is particularly important--"essays on algorithmic culture." Galloway's book is divided into five chapters, each of which stands (and can be read) fairly independently from the rest. He will refer to the others when relevant, but no essay depends on knowing the other four. The book starts with a fairly formalist discussion of videogames, creating a "quadrant" system where games may be located along a machine/operator access (or game/player, if you pre ...more
Strongly distinguishes itself from the former definitions of "play" and describes the four "gamic" actions in interesting ways. But it's two biggest achievements are how it connects the Deleuzian control societies into "enacted allegories" to develop a better theory for postmodernist era where action and processing go hand-in-hand and where the illusion of freedom and choices barely conceals the ideological biases underneath.
Also, *brillIiant* last chapter on counter-gaming and artist-made mods
Steen Christiansen
Good, insightful book on gaming and video games, which does not take the obvious route. While not exactly formalist, Galloway's approach still blends aesthetics with cultural approaches, forging a new, strong path for video games studies. While I don't exactly agree with his combination of algorithm and allegory, his argument is undeniably strong.
Katie Chico
I thought this book was really pretty interesting. There were times that I had to seriously question his interpretation of the major semiotic works he quotes, but for the most part the book got me thinking again. I especially enjoyed his connections of realism/realisticness/and the Italian film movement of neorealism.
Douglas Pearce
Oct 16, 2007 Douglas Pearce rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: geeky designers and architects
If gaming literature needed an academic upgrade, this is it. It formalizes many concepts in gaming by drawing largely upon film criticism. This may end up being a foundational text for future criticism of gaming.
A little too dependent on film theory and a little heavy on high-brow analysis of Civilization, but some useful stuff and interesting perspectives.
Really bad tips n tricks, no cheat codes whatsoever, and a total lack of level maps. 3.5/5
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“We are living through a movement from an organic, industrial society to a polymorphous, information system,” wrote Donna Haraway, “from all work to all play, a deadly game.”10 With the growing significance of immaterial labor, and the concomitant increase in cultivation and exploitation of play—creativity, innovation, the new, the singular, flexibility, the supplement—as a productive force, play will become more and more linked to broad social structures of control. Today we are no doubt witnessing the end of play as politically progressive, or even politically neutral.)” 0 likes
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