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The book provides a comprehensive application of narrative theory to video games, and presents the player-response paradigm of game criticism. Video Game Narrative and Criticism explains the nature of gameplay - a psychological experience and a meaning-making process in the fictional world of video games.
UNLOCK YOUR GAME'S NARRATIVE POTENTIAL! With increasingly sophisticated video games being consumed by an enthusiastic and expanding audience, the pressure is on game developers like never before to deliver exciting stories and engaging characters. With Video Game Storytelling, game writer and producer Evan Skolnick provides a comprehensive yet easy-to-follow guide to storytelling basics and how they can be applied at every stage of the development process—by all members of the team. This clear, concise reference pairs relevant examples from top games and other media with a breakdown of the key roles in game development, showing how a team’s shared understanding and application of core storytelling principles can deepen the player experience. Understanding story and why it matters is no longer just for writers or narrative designers. From team leadership to game design and beyond, Skolnick reveals how each member of the development team can do his or her part to help produce gripping, truly memorable narratives that will enhance gameplay and bring today’s savvy gamers back time and time again. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Grand Theft Auto IV saw more copies being sold than the latest superhero blockbusters or the last Harry Potter novel. Most of its players and critics commend its storytelling experience; however, when it comes to academic analysis, mainstream humanities research seems confused about what to do with such a phenomena. The problem is one of classification, in the first instance: 'is it a story, is it a game, or is it a machine?' Consequently, it also becomes a problem of methodology – which traditional discipline, if any, should lay claim to video game studies becoming the moot question. After weathering many controversies with regards to their cultural status, video games are now widely accepted as a new textual form that requires its own media-specific analysis. Despite the rapid rise in research and academic recognition, video game studies has seldom attempted to connect with older media and to locate itself within broader substantive discourses of the earlier and more established disciplines, especially those in the humanities. Video Games and Storytelling aims to readdress this gap and to bring video games to mainstream humanities research and teaching. In the process, it is also a rethinking story versus game debate as well as other key issues in game studies such as time, agency, involvement and textuality in video game-narratives.
The relationship between story and game, and related questions of electronic writing and play, examined through a series of discussions among new media creators and theorists.
Incontestably, Future Narratives are most conspicuous in video games: they combine narrative with the major element of all games: agency. The persons who perceive these narratives are not simply readers or spectators but active agents with a range of choices at their disposal that will influence the very narrative they are experiencing: they are players. The narratives thus created are realizations of the multiple possibilities contained in the present of any given gameplay situation. Surveying the latest trends in the field, the volume discusses the complex relationship of narrative and gameplay.
Tom Bissell is a prizewinning writer who published three widely acclaimed books before the age of thirty-four. He is also an obsessive gamer who has spent untold hours in front of his various video game consoles, playing titles such as Far Cry 2, Left 4 Dead, BioShock, and Oblivion for, literally, days. If you are reading this flap copy, the same thing can probably be said of you, or of someone you know. Until recently, Bissell was somewhat reluctant to admit to his passion for games. In this, he is not alone. Millions of adults spend hours every week playing video games, and the industry itself now reliably outearns Hollywood. But the wider culture seems to regard video games as, at best, well designed if mindless entertainment. Extra Lives is an impassioned defense of this assailed and misunderstood art form. Bissell argues that we are in a golden age of gaming—but he also believes games could be even better. He offers a fascinating and often hilarious critique of the ways video games dazzle and, just as often, frustrate. Along the way, we get firsthand portraits of some of the best minds (Jonathan Blow, Clint Hocking, Cliff Bleszinski, Peter Molyneux) at work in video game design today, as well as a shattering and deeply moving final chapter that describes, in searing detail, Bissell’s descent into the world of Grand Theft Auto IV, a game whose themes mirror his own increasingly self-destructive compulsions. Blending memoir, criticism, and first-rate reportage, Extra Lives is like no other book on the subject ever published. Whether you love video games, loathe video games, or are merely curious about why they are becoming the dominant popular art form of our time, Extra Lives is required reading. From the Hardcover edition.
An innovative guide to living gamefully, based on the program that has already helped nearly half a million people achieve remarkable personal growth In 2009, internationally renowned game designer Jane McGonigal suffered a severe concussion. Unable to think clearly or work or even get out of bed, she became anxious and depressed, even suicidal. But rather than let herself sink further, she decided to get better by doing what she does best: she turned her recovery process into a resilience-building game. What started as a simple motivational exercise quickly became a set of rules for “post-traumatic growth” that she shared on her blog. These rules led to a digital game and a major research study with the National Institutes of Health. Today nearly half a million people have played SuperBetter to get stronger, happier, and healthier. But the life-changing ideas behind SuperBetter are much bigger than just one game. In this book, McGonigal reveals a decade’s worth of scientific research into the ways all games—including videogames, sports, and puzzles—change how we respond to stress, challenge, and pain. She explains how we can cultivate new powers of recovery and resilience in everyday life simply by adopting a more “gameful” mind-set. Being gameful means bringing the same psychological strengths we naturally display when we play games—such as optimism, creativity, courage, and determination—to real-world goals. Drawing on hundreds of studies, McGonigal shows that getting superbetter is as simple as tapping into the three core psychological strengths that games help you build: • Your ability to control your attention, and therefore your thoughts and feelings • Your power to turn anyone into a potential ally, and to strengthen your existing relationships • Your natural capacity to motivate yourself and super-charge your heroic qualities, like willpower, compassion, and determination SuperBetter contains nearly 100 playful challenges anyone can undertake in order to build these gameful strengths. It includes stories and data from people who have used the SuperBetter method to get stronger in the face of illness, injury, and other major setbacks, as well as to achieve goals like losing weight, running a marathon, and finding a new job. As inspiring as it is down to earth, and grounded in rigorous research, SuperBetter is a proven game plan for a better life. You’ll never say that something is “just a game” again. From the Hardcover edition.

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