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The PlayStation Dreamworld

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  61 ratings  ·  15 reviews
From mobile phones to consoles, tablets and PCs, we are now a generation of gamers. The PlayStation Dreamworld is - to borrow a phrase from Slavoj Zizek - the pervert's guide to videogames. It argues that we can only understand the world of videogames via Lacanian dream analysis. It also argues that the Left needs to work inside this dreamspace - a powerful arena for const ...more
Hardcover, 140 pages
Published November 20th 2017 by Polity Press (first published November 2017)
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3.64  · 
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 ·  61 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having enjoyed and gleaned much from Alfie Bown's 'Enjoying It: Candy Crush and Capitalism', I was intrigued to dive right into this, his take on Slavoj Žižek's Playstation Dreamworld. Although heavy on academic language, there is much to admire about this study. The fundamental principle analysed here is that like television advertisements, video games influence players whether they are aware of it or not. Through the lens of psychoanalysis, Bown explores the ways in which video games can be pe ...more
Guillermo Fernandez
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
In his last book The Playstation Dreamworld (Polity, 2017) Alfie Bown is not exclusively addressing video game players, whether full time or simply occasional players, but everyone. He understands that video games can be the perfect tool to comprehend the digital media scenario in which we live. So, in the same way, that American cinema from the 40's, 50's and 60's, left a footprint in several generations' lives regardless of whether one watched the movies or not, influencing their clothes, hair ...more
Wendy Liu
This is an extremely short book, with a mere 133 pages of content conveyed through large text surrounded by Antarctic-sized margins. It's a bit of an esoteric read, and I wouldn't recommend it unless the idea of applying critical theory to gaming culture really floats your boat. You're also better off having read (or, at least, read about) the following authors/works, all of which are mentioned at least once: Donna Harraway; Steven Shaviro; Deleuze and Guattari; Debord; Lacan; Freud; Franco Bera ...more
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychoanalysis
After "Enjoying It: Candy Crush and Capitalism", Alfie Bown continues to investigate the effects of technology and gaming on our subjectivities through the lens of psychoanalysis. I think psychoanalysis (at least in its most contemporary form whose biggest influence is Zizek alongside lesser known names to the general public) is most intelligible and useful when it helps us to dissect the swift changes in our societies. Bown uses the relatively small volume of the book effectively in delivering ...more
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit of a specialist, focussed read, building on the idea that we are a generation of gamers and it accordingly looks at our relationship to this and technological entertainment-at-large.

This is not a book for the casual reader, despite it being written in a fairly casual and accessible style, as it conveys a lot of often complicated or nuanced messages that demand interpretation. Analysing matters such as capitalism, dream analysis, society and gaming, it can draw you in and even if you don’t
David Meczywor
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is a book with a lot of promise that falls short of reasoned, logical arguments. Alfie Bown utilizes a very readable style and hits on some wonderful, thought provoking ideas but then goes off with qualitative assumptions that fail to demonstrate any proper reason or understanding of the subject or logic of his field. Admittedly I haven't read his previous book, so if this is intended to be a compendium of sorts to that, I may be missing some of that reasoning but I remain skeptical given h ...more
I Read, Therefore I Blog
Alfie Bown is an Assistant Professor of Literature at HSMC Hong Kong and in this very academic book that’s heavy on psychoanalytical theory, he argues that computer games can only be fully understood through psychoanalysis, that subversion needs to operate within this dream world or else risk it falling under the control of corporations and the state and that enjoyment of video games is ideological and subversive.
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
A pretty ideating approach to taking about videogames and philosophy (infinitely better than philosophy and x). He relies heavily on psychoanalysis, especially Lacan, to make good arguments which work and make sense. However, it does feel rather brief and not fully fleshed out. He does not touch too much on the multiplayer games which is a shame. Can imagine a longer "sequel" of shorts to cover more. Also, the only fighting game mentioned was Dead or Alive and it was just in passing.
Ondřej Trhoň
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: deep
actualizing psychoanalysis for 21 Pokemon-Go century, a much needed critical examination of games as ideologies (and how that relates to their underlying priciples of desire construction). Concise and well written.
Jim B
Nov 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I only understood half of it, being inexperienced in psychoanalysis, but what I did understand I liked.
Why we play video games? Are they more than just a way of distraction? Are we in control of the game, or could the game (and those behind it) be guiding us? Do we remain the same person after our gaming experiences?. If any of those questions pique your interest, you might want to read The PlayStation Dreamworld. This book analyzes how political (capitalism) behavior can be reinforced through video games while people remain unaware of such influences.

This last point is the reason why the subject
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018

Table of Contents

Tutorial: The Pokémon Generation

Level 1
From Farming Simulation to Dystopic Wasteland:
Gaming and Capitalism

Work and Play
● Cultures of Distraction
● Pastoral Dystopia, Apocalyptic Utopia
● No Alternative

Level 2
Dreamwork: Cyborgs on the Analyst’s Couch

Japanese Dreams, American Texts
● The Dreamworld
● Repetitions and the Dromena
● Immersion and Westworld

Level 3
Retro Gaming: The Politics of Former and Future Pleasures

Rational Gaming in the 1990s
● Virtual/Reality
● Subject, Ob
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