Understanding Video Games: The Essential Introduction

This expanded and revised second edition of Understanding Video Games provides a comprehensive introduction to the growing field of game studies.

Understanding Video Games, 2nd Edition is an essential read for newcomers to video game studies and experienced game scholars alike. This follow-up to the pioneering first edition takes video game studies into the next decade of the twenty-first century, highlighting changes in the game business, advances in video game scholarship, and recent trends in game design and development—including mobile, social, and casual gaming.

In Understanding Video Games, 2nd Edition students will:

    • Assess the major theories used to analyze games, such as ludology and narratology
    • Gain familiarity with the commercial and organizational aspects of the game industry
    • Trace the history of video games from Pong to Playstation 3 and beyond
    • Explore the aesthetics of game design
    • Evaluate the cultural position of video games
    • Consider the potential effects of both violent and "serious" games.

Extensively illustrated, and featuring discussion questions, a glossary of key terms, and a detailed video game history timeline (including an interactive online version), Understanding Video Games, 2nd Edition is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in examining the ways video games are reshaping entertainment and society.


Reviews from Goodreads.com

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By Rachel (Spanish Fork, UT) · ★★★★★ · December 29, 2011
This is by far the best (and maybe the only?) textbook on video games I have encountered. The chapter on history gave a good overview and didn't bore me; the philosophical and literature reviews were thorough without excess meanderings. The chapter on "serious games" and edutainment was one of th... ...more
By David (London, The United Kingdom) · ★★★★☆ · January 08, 2014
An initially facile, mechanical walkthrough of the video games industry yielded to a thoroughly absorbing conclusion, including: a sensitive introduction to the narratology v ludology debate; a useful analysis of cultural and commercial context for serious games; and finally a fascinating overvie... ...more
By Peter (Hungary) · ★★★★☆ · August 11, 2012
Annoying typographic errors mar an otherwise useful textbook. Alas, the field has changed much during the latter half of the decade, and the book already feels outdated, a common woe of much of new media/digital entertainment studies and textbooks. ...more
By Sami (London, ON, Canada) · September 22, 2013
about what ? ...more