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The Game Culture Reader

Editor(s): Jason Thompson

Book Description

In The Game Culture Reader, editors Jason C. Thompson and Marc A. Ouellette propose that Game Studies—that peculiar multi-, inter-, and trans-disciplinary field wherein international researchers from such diverse areas as rhetoric, computer science, literary studies, culture studies, psychology, media studies and so on come together to study the production, distribution, and consumption of games—has reached an unproductive stasis. Its scholarship remains either divided (as in the narratologists versus ludologists debate) or indecisive (as in its frequently apolitical stances on play and fandom). Thompson and Ouellette firmly hold that scholarship should be distinguished from the repetitively reductive commonplaces of violence, sexism, and addiction. In other words, beyond the headline-friendly modern topoi that now dominate the discourse of Game Studies, what issues, approaches, and insights are being, if not erased, then displaced?

This volume gathers together a host of scholars from different countries, institutions, disciplines, departments, and ranks, in order to present original and evocative scholarship on digital game culture. Collectively, the contributors reject the commonplaces that have come to define digital games as apolitical or as somehow outside of the imbricated processes of cultural production that govern the medium itself.

As an alternative, they offer essays that explore video game theory, ludic spaces and temporalities, and video game rhetorics. Importantly, the authors emphasize throughout that digital games should be understood on their own terms: literally, this assertion necessitates the serious reconsideration of terms borrowed from other academic disciplines; figuratively, the claim embeds the embrace of game play in the continuing investigation of digital games as cultural forms. Put another way, by questioning the received wisdom that would consign digital games to irrelevant spheres of harmless child’s play or of invidious mass entertainment, the authors productively engage with ludic ambiguities.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-4094-1
ISBN-10: 1-4438-4094-7
Date of Publication: 01/10/2013
Pages / Size: 285 / A5
Price: £44.99


Jason C. Thompson is Assistant Professor of English and New Media at the University of Wyoming, where he researches game culture in the Digital Humanities Lab. He teaches courses in rhetoric and video games, rhetorical theory, and literary theory. His work has appeared in Rhetoric Review, JAC: A Journal of Rhetoric, Culture, and Politics, M/C Journal, and Reconstruction, as well as in the edited collections On the Blunt Edge: Technology in Composition’s History and Pedagogy (Parlor, 2011) and The Computer Culture Reader (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009).

Marc A. Ouellette is the Managing Editor of Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture. His work has appeared in several journals, including Game Studies, Eludamos, and TEXT Technology, as well as in the edited collections Learning the Virtual Life: Public Pedagogy in a Digital World (Routledge, 2011) and Foregrounding Postfeminism and the Future of Feminist Film and Media Studies (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, forthcoming).