What is video game culture and video games as culture? Culture at Play avoids easy answers and deceitful single definitions. Instead, the collected essays included here navigate the messy and exciting waters of video games, of culture, and of the meeting of video games and culture, and do so from four perspectives: Players: Types and Identities; The Human/The Machine: Agents, Ethics, and Affect; Compassion, Recognition, and the Interpersonal; and Learning through Play. As a form of play, video games can greatly affect our lives. As digital objects, they participate in our digital lives. As both, they have a noticeable impact on our relationships with others, with society, and with ourselves, and this is the scope of this book.
Lindsey Joyce, Ph.D., is a former lecturer of Game Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas. Her work focuses primarily on digital interactive narrative system design and can be found via Inter-Disciplinary Press, Brill, and McFarland Press.
Víctor Navarro-Remesal, Ph.D., is a researcher in Game Studies and assistant professor at CESAG (Comillas Pontifical University), and a specialist in East Asian Studies. He has published books and papers on freedom, ethics, and narrative in videogames.
Notes on Contributors
0 Video Games, Culture, and Everything: An Introduction
Players: Types and Identities
1 Is Your Masculinity Threatened? Then You’re Not Man Enough to Play: Robot Unicorn Attack 2 and Beyond the Gender Challenge
Peter Feer and Robin Skinner
2 We Are Smash Bros: Understanding Player Types and Ideals Through Worldwide Game Design
Bradley McAvoy-James and Bobbie Fletcher
3 Empowering Avatars: The Impact of In-Game Presence on Everyday Functioning
4 Without so Much as a Word: Non-Verbal Performances of Masculine Identity in Adolescent Call of Duty Players
The Human/The Machine: Agents, Ethics, and Affect
5 Agents in Space and Time: Fundamentals of Interactive Narrative Systems
6 Killswitch Engage: Ethics in Game Design
7 Pushing the Lever: Rule-Consequentialism and Utilitarianism in Life is Strange Patrick Goritschnig
8 Light My (Camp-)Fire: Affect and Incitement in Firewatch René Reinhold Schallegger
Compassion, Recognition, and the Interpersonal
9 Representing Interpersonal Relationships in Videogame Terms
10 Press X to recognize the Other’s Suffering: Compassion and Recognition in Games
Victor Navarro-Remesal and Ignacio Bergillos
Learning through Play
11 Toward Engaging Educational Digital Games
12 Serious Topics and Fun Games: ‘Hidden in the Zoo’
Niklas Torstensson and Tarja Susi
13 ‘You Can Deny Seriousness, but You Can’t Deny Play’: Emergent Resistance to Purposive Games
All interested in the intersection of game studies and cultural studies and anyone concerned with the sociological and cultural developments of contemporary play culture.