Video Games as Culture. Considering the Role and Importance of Video Games in Contemporary Society
Daniel Muriel and Garry Crawford
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Video games are a global phenomenon, and are becoming increasingly central to our cultural lives. Drawing on new and original empirical data, including interviews with gamers, as well as key representatives of the video game industry, media, education and arts, this book considers contemporary video game culture. It suggests that video game culture provides an important lens for understanding late-modernity, digital and participatory cultures, and the hegemony of neoliberal political rationalities.
The book lays out the theoretical and empirical context for the emergence and consolidation of video game culture as part of a broader digital culture in a clear and student-friendly way. It then considers the different spaces and topics through which video game culture helps us to understand how identities and communities are constructed in contemporary societies. Crawford and Muriel explore a group of topics to show how video game culture is an essential part of identity construction in contemporary societies: video gaming both as extraordinary and mundane; representations of video gamers; their communities and video games; and agency and interactivity.
This clear, accessible book explores video games as an expression of life and culture in late-modernity. It will appeal to upper undergraduate and postgraduate students for its introduction of key notions in current debates in the social sciences, and application of these to understandings of video game culture. It will also be useful for video game scholars, media and cultural studies researchers, and those studying the wider role of culture and consumption in the transformation of society, identities and communities.
There are only few works that aim for a comprehensive mapping of what games as a culture are, and how their complex social and cultural realities should be studied, as a whole. Daniel Muriel and Garry Crawford have done so, analysing both games, players, associated practices and the broad range of socio-cultural developments that contribute to the ongoing ludification of society. Ambitious, lucid and well-informed, this book is an excellent guide to the field, and will no doubt inspire future work
Frans Mäyrä, Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, University of Tampere
This book provides an insightful and accessible contribution to our understanding of video games as culture. However, its most impressive achievement is that it cogently shows how the study of video games can be used to explore broader social and cultural processes, including identity, agency, community and consumption in contemporary digital societies. Muriel and Crawford have written a book that transcends its topic, and deserves to be read widely
Aphra Kerr, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Maynooth University
Table of Contents
List of Figures and Tables
Preface and Acknowledgements
1 Introduction: Contemporary Culture through the Lens of Video Games
2 The Emergence and Consolidation of Video Games as Culture
3 Video Games and Agency within Neoliberalism and Participatory Culture
4 Video Games as Experience
5 Video Games beyond Escapism: Empathy and Identification
6 Video Gamers and (Post-)Identity
7 Conclusion: This Is Not a Video Game, Or Is It?