An Introduction to Game Studies is the first introductory textbook for students of game studies. It provides a conceptual overview of the cultural, social and economic significance of computer and video games and traces the history of game culture and the emergence of game studies as a field of research.
Key concepts and theories are illustrated with discussion of games taken from different historical phases of game culture. Progressing from the simple, yet engaging, gameplay of Pong and text-based adventure games to the complex virtual worlds of contemporary online games, the book will guide students towards analytical appreciation and critical engagement with gaming and game studies.
Students will learn to:
- Understand and analyze different aspects of phenomena we recognize as 'game' and 'play'
- Identify the key developments in digital game design through discussion of action in games of the 1970s, fiction and adventure in games of the 1980s, three-dimensionality in games of the 1990s, and social aspects of gameplay in contemporary online games
- Understand games as dynamic systems of meaning-making
- Interpret the context of games as 'culture' and subculture
- Analyze the relationship between technology and interactivity and between 'game' and 'reality'
- Situate games within the context of digital culture and the information society
With further reading suggestions, images, exercises, online resources and a whole chapter devoted to preparing students to do their own game studies project, an An Introduction to Game Studies is the complete toolkit for all students pursuing the study of games.
The companion website contains slides and assignments that are suitable for self-study as well as for classroom use. Students will also benefits from online resources at www.gamestudiesbook.net, which will be regularly blogged and updated by the author.
Frans Mäyrä is the Professor of Hypermedia, Digital Culture and Game Studies in the University of Tampere, Finland.