Gaming : essays on algorithmic culture / Alexander R. Galloway.

by Galloway, Alexander R., 1974- [author.]Looking glass.

Series: Electronic mediations: Publisher: Minneapolis, Minnesona ; University of Minnesota Press, 2006.Description: xiii, 143 pages : illustrations (black and white) ; 22 cm.ISBN: 9780816648504; 0816648506; 9780816648511; 0816648514.Subject(s): Video games -- Social aspectsLooking glass | Video games -- Philosophy
Gamic action, four moments -- Origins of the first-person shooter -- Social realism -- Allegories of control -- Countergaming.
Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages 127-136) and index.
Item type Home library Collection Class number Status Date due Barcode Item reservations
Long loan Central Saint Martins
Main collection
Printed books 794.8 GAL (Browse shelf (Opens below)) Issued 10/01/2022 54089116
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Video games have been a central feature of the cultural landscape for over twenty years and now rival older media like movies, television, and music in popularity and cultural influence. Yet there have been relatively few attempts to understand the video game as an independent medium. Most such efforts focus on the earliest generation of text-based adventures ( Zork, for example) and have little to say about such visually and conceptually sophisticated games as Final Fantasy X, Shenmue, Grand Theft Auto, Halo, and The Sims, in which players inhabit elaborately detailed worlds and manipulate digital avatars with a vast--and in some cases, almost unlimited--array of actions and choices.

In Gaming , Alexander Galloway instead considers the video game as a distinct cultural form that demands a new and unique interpretive framework. Drawing on a wide range of disciplines, particularly critical theory and media studies, he analyzes video games as something to be played rather than as texts to be read, and traces in five concise chapters how the "algorithmic culture" created by video games intersects with theories of visuality, realism, allegory, and the avant-garde. If photographs are images and films are moving images, then, Galloway asserts, video games are best defined as actions.

Using examples from more than fifty video games, Galloway constructs a classification system of action in video games, incorporating standard elements of gameplay as well as software crashes, network lags, and the use of cheats and game hacks. In subsequent chapters, he explores the overlap between the conventions of film and video games, the political and cultural implications of gaming practices, the visual environment of video games, and the status of games as an emerging cultural form.

Together, these essays offer a new conception of gaming and, more broadly, of electronic culture as a whole, one that celebrates and does not lament the qualities of the digital age.

Alexander R. Galloway is assistant professor of culture and communication at New York University and author of Protocol: How Control Exists after Decentralization.

Includes bibliographical references (pages 127-136) and index.

Gamic action, four moments -- Origins of the first-person shooter -- Social realism -- Allegories of control -- Countergaming.

Reviews provided by Syndetics


Succinct and conceptually broad, these important essays recognize the potential for video games and video-game criticism to mature beyond aesthetic novelty and definitional disputes. Redefining video games as actions, as playable engines of control and critique, Galloway (culture and communication, New York Univ.) confidently extends and goes beyond issues that have characterized video-game studies thus far: representation, game theory, interactivity, play, and narrative. Although he supports his unique perspective with critical and cultural theory (that of Jacques Derrida, Fredric Jameson, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Lev Manovich, Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin, Espen Aarseth, et al.), he counters the complexity by including user-friendly summaries and a wealth of illustrative game examples. Collectively, the essays call for a more rigorous and politically motivated approach to video-game study by highlighting the potential of the medium to make meaning via action rather than representation, to encourage a performative engagement with social reality, and to reveal, replicate, or/and resist ideological systems of control. Such claims ensure that Galloway's fruitful collection will avoid the anachronistic fate often reserved for foundational studies of new media. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above. J. A. Saklofske Acadia University