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Worlds in Play

Castell, Suzanne de / Jenson, Jennifer (eds.)

Worlds in Play

International Perspectives on Digital Games Research

Series: New Literacies and Digital Epistemologies - Volume 21

Year of Publication: 2007

New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2007. VIII, 349 pp., num. fig.
ISBN 978-0-8204-8643-7 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.490 kg, 1.080 lbs

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Book synopsis

Worlds in Play, a map of the «state of play» in digital games research today, illustrates the great variety and extreme contrasts in the landscape cleft by contemporary digital games research. The chapters in this volume are the work of an international review board of seventy game-study specialists from fields spanning social sciences, arts, and humanities to the physical and applied sciences and technologies. A wellspring of inspiring concepts, models, protocols, data, methods, tools, critical perspectives, and directions for future work, Worlds in Play will support and assist in reading not only within, but across fields of play – disciplinary, temporal, and geographical – and encourage all of us to widen our focus to encompass the omni-dimensional phenomenon of «worlds in play.»


Contents: Suzanne de Castell/Jen Jenson: Introduction – Janet H. Murray: Games as Joint Attentional Scenes – José P. Zagal/Michael Mateas/Clara Fernández-Vara/Brian Hochhalter/Nolan Lichti: Towards an Ontological Language for Game Analysis – Laura Ermi/Frans Mäyrä: Fundamental Components of the Gameplay Experience: Analyzing Immersion – Renata Gomes: The Design of Narrative as an Immersive Simulation – Ulrike Spierling: Interactive Digital Storytelling: Towards a Hybrid Conceptual Approach – Ian Bogost: Frame and Metaphor in Political Games – Patrick Crogan: Playing Through: The Future of Alternative and Critical Game Projects – Holin Lin/Chuen-Tsai Sun: «White-Eyed» and «Griefer» Player Culture: Deviance Construction in MMORPGs – Seth Giddings: Playing with Non-Humans: Digital Games as Technocultural Form – Kenji Ito: Possibilities of Non-Commercial Games: The Case of Amateur Role-Playing Games Designers in Japan – John A. L. Banks: Opening the Production Pipeline: Unruly Creators – Stephen N. Griffin: Push. Play: An Examination of the Gameplay Button – Clara Fernández-Vara/José Pablo Zagal/Michael Mateas: Evolution of Spatial Configurations in Videogames – William Huber: Fictive Affinities in Final Fantasy XI: Complicit and Critical Play in Fantastic Nations – Debra Polson/ Marcos Caceres: Lesser-Known Worlds: Bridging the Telematic Flows with Located Human Experience through Game Design – Peter Edelmann: Framing Virtual Law – Ron Wakkary/Marek Hatala/Robb Lovell/Milena Droumeva/Alissa Antle/Dale Evernden/Jim Bizzocchi: Socio-Ec(h)o: Ambient Intelligence and Gameplay – Simon Niedenthal: Shadowplay: Simulated Illumination in Game Worlds – Leif Gruenwoldt/Michael Katchabaw/Stephen Danton: Achieving Realistic Reactions in Modern Video Games – Mary Flanagan/Daniel C. Howe/Helen Nissenbaum: New Design Methods for Activist Gaming – Darryl Charles/Michael McNeill/Moira McAlister/Michaela Black/Adrian Moore/Karl Stringer/Julian Kücklich/Aphra Kerr: Adaptive Game Technology as a Player-Centered Approach to Game Design – Michael Mateas/Andrew Stern: Build It to Understand It: Ludology Meets Narratology in Game Design Space – Mike Carbonaro/Maria Cutumisu/Matthew McNaughton/Curtis Onuczko/Thomas Roy/Jonathan Schaeffer/Duane Szafron/Stephanie Gillis: Interactive Story Writing in the Classroom: Using Computer Games – Rikke Magnussen: Games as a Platform for Situated Science Practice – Diane Carr: Contexts, Pleasures, and Preferences: Girls Playing Computer Games – James Paul Gee: Are Video Games Good for Learning?

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Editors: Suzanne de Castell is Professor of Education at Simon Fraser University, where she researches literacies, media studies, and game-based educational technologies. She is completing a three-year study of new attentional economies for learning, and chaired the DiGRA (Digital Games Research Association) 2005 International Conference, from which this collection of papers was drawn.
Jennifer Jenson is Associate Professor of Pedagogy and Technology in the Faculty of Education at York University. Working with Suzanne de Castell and a team of students, she is co-designing an educational game, Contagion, and she is completing a three-year study of gender and digital gameplay.


«‘Worlds in Play’ engages the newest of human media applied to one of the oldest human practices. The chapters in this volume advance our understanding of the expressive potential of digital games, their social context and politics, and their potential for education. They mark a deepening of focus, a closer application of analysis to particular artifacts and practices, a clearer differentiation of methodologies and assumptions, and a wider recognition of the need for multiple frameworks of investigation. They increase our critical vocabulary for analyzing and designing digital games, and perhaps most importantly for the future of research in this field, they display an increased understanding of the experience of the gamer and of the depth and diversity of pleasures that attract us to this compelling new medium.» (Janet H. Murray, Professor & Director of Graduate Studies, Digital Media & Information Design and Technology Programs, School of Literature, Communication, and Culture, Georgia Tech)
«This collection brings together fascinating work in game studies and also highlights one of the most exciting aspects of the field, its multidisciplinarity. Covering everything from narrative to player-created content, this is sure to be a book those researching games regularly turn to.» (T.L. Taylor, Associate Professor, IT University of Copenhagen; Author of ‘Play Between Worlds’ (2006))


New Literacies and Digital Epistemologies. Vol. 21
General Editors: Colin Lankshear, Michael Peters, Michele Knobel and Chris Bigum