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The State of Play: Creators and Critics on Video Game Culture (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

The gaming world is very much in a state of crisis. No one can quite decide the best direction to take this burgeoning art form. Sixteen major players in the industry have some ideas. It was incredibly refreshing to read essays where no one treats the community like glass. We’re big kids, we can take some criticism. At its heart, this collection is a labor of love for a space we all hold dear.

— Ivy



The State of Play is a call to consider the high stakes of video game culture and how our digital and real lives collide. Here, video games are not hobbies or pure recreation; they are vehicles for art, sex, and race and class politics.

The sixteen contributors are entrenched—they are the video game creators themselves, media critics, and Internet celebrities.  They share one thing: they are all players at heart, handpicked to form a superstar roster by Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson, the authors of the bestselling Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus "Notch" Persson and the Game that Changed Everything.

The State of Play is essential reading for anyone interested in what may well be the defining form of cultural expression of our time.

"If you want to explain to anyone why videogames are worth caring about, this is a single volume primer on where we are, how we got here and where we're going next. In every way, this is the state of play." —Kieron Gillen, author of The Wicked + the Divine, co-founder of Rock Paper Shotgun

About the Author

LINUS LARSSON and DANIEL GOLDBERG are two of Sweden's most important writers on new technology and the Internet. They have been published in Wired, The GuardianThe Washington Post, and American Computer World, and quoted by BBC News, The New York Times, and The Sydney Morning Herald. Their first book, Swedish Hackers, was published in 2011 in Sweden. In 2013, Minecraft followed with Seven Stories Press as their bestselling English-language debut.

Praise For…

"Editors Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson are interested in the way in which writing about the video game medium has grown from product criticism to social and political commentary. This broadening of scope is due not only to maturation, they argue. It is also the result of the democratization of game-making, which has allowed independent creators to release games on personal and seemingly noncommercial topics, in that way stimulating critical ­conversation." The New York Times Book Review

"A ground­breaking anthology that all video game players should read and ponder." Library Journal, starred review

"If you want to explain to anyone why videogames are worth caring about, this is a single volume primer on where we are, how we got here and where we're going next. In every way, this is the state of play." —Kieron Gillen, author of The Wicked + The Divine

"This should be a mainstay in media theory classrooms. Overall, this book presents a much-needed alternative look at the state and stakes of video game culture, today and tomorrow." —Angela Washko, artist and founder of The Council on Gender Sensitivity and Behavioral Awareness in World of Warcraft

"Through a combination of deeply personal narratives and academic analyses State of Play effectively illuminates the social and cultural relevance of gaming.  We see games as cultural representations reflecting societal tensions and priorities, social systems with insiders/outsiders and ethical dilemmas where conflicts can be worked out or not, opportunities for exploration and tools for presentation of counter narratives.  The authors do not simply discuss what games are technically, but what they are, can and should be culturally." —Ellen Middaugh, San José State University, author of The Civic Potential of Video Games

"We are past the era when it was surprising to learn that video games are more than just pleasurable power fantasies. Video games are emotional explorations of race, gender, sex and love. Video games gives us intense experiences of being others, or finding ourselves, alone with the computer or surrounded by crowds, in physical or virtual spaces. The State of Play is a key collection of writings to understand why playing video games matters more than ever." —Miguel Angel Sicart, author of Play Matters and The Ethics of Computer Games, Associate Professor at the Center for Computer Game Research at IT University Copenhagen

"The State of Play gathers essential voices who are trying to make a more just, more true, more playful gamespace, one that's fun for everybody." —McKenzie Wark, author of Gamer Theory

"The thoughtful, articulate essays recursively confirm the importance of gaming to society, the book's key theme. Beautifully written in workmanlike, accessible prose, and highly recommended." —Bonnie Nardi, author of My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Witchcraft 

"This diverse collection demonstrates the deep power of anchoring our design theories in the lived experiences of players and creators. It offers a kaleidoscopic view of the possibility space of games, providing exciting new perspectives on play and the construction of play spaces." —Brian Upton, author of The Aesthetic of Play

Product Details
ISBN: 9781609806392
ISBN-10: 1609806395
Publisher: Seven Stories Press
Publication Date: October 20th, 2015
Pages: 256
Language: English
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Data Source: ONIX
Created At: 12/29/2014 08:41am
Last Updated At: 5/15/2022 02:02pm