Computer Games: Text, Narrative and Play
March 2006, Polity
This book provides a systematic, comprehensive introduction to the analysis of computer and video games. It introduces key concepts and approaches drawn from literary, film and media theory in an accessible and concrete manner; and it tests their use and relevance by applying them to a small but representative selection of role-playing and action-adventure games. It combines methods of textual analysis and audience research, showing how the combination of such methods can give a more complete picture of these playable texts and the fan cultures they generate. Clearly written and engaging, it will be a key text for students in the field and for all those with an interest in taking games seriously.
List of Illustrations
1. Studying computer games
2. Defining game genres
3. Games and narrative
4. Play and pleasure
5. Space, navigation and affect
6. Playing roles
7. Reworking the text: online fandom
8. Motivation and online gaming
9. Social play and learning
10. Agency in and around play
11. Film, adaptation and computer games
12. Games and Gender
13. Doing game analysis
Andrew Burn is Reader in Education and New Media and
Associate Director of the CSCYM at the University of London.
Diane Carr is Research Officer of the CSCYM at the
University of London.
Gareth Schott is Senior Lecturer of Screen and Media Studies at the University of Waikato.
- A major new introduction to a popular and growing area of media
- No previous knowledge of having studied games or interactive
media is assumed, and complex theoretical approaches are made clear
and accessible for a student reader.
- The textbook is divided into 12 clear chapters and will map
closely onto course structures.
- The authors offer a good balance of theory and practice –
a full chapter is dedicated to teaching the student methods for
analysing games themselves.
- The book looks both at game texts and how they are actually
- Discusses several well-known role-playing and action-adventure
- All 'classic' games are covered!
-- Julian McDougall, Media Education Assocation
'Computer Games: Text, Narrative and Play will be
valuable for teachers and students who want to familiaize
themselves with the core concepts and important debates within the
merging field of games studies. But it does more than that -
couping format analysis of games with an ethnographic perspective
on games-playing showing how the same games studies can be read
through multiple conceptual frameworks. If recent writing in games
studies has seemed polarized, this book maps the middle ground
between the warring positions.'
-- Henry Jenkins, Massachusetts Institute of
'Computer Games challenges the notion that games are
"just for fun" by introducing a readable tome for observers and
players of Pong to Perfect Dark. A comprehensive and useful
breakdown of what students of games studies should focus on and how
they should go about doing it.'
-- Aleks Krotoski, Technology Journalist and Researcher