The Game Culture Reader

Edited by Jason C. Thompson and Marc Ouellette

Jason C. Thompson and Marc A. Ouellette’s edited collection of essays The Game Culture Reader begins with an attack on established game studies—or perhaps not so much an attack as a very pointed prodding to shake off existing lethargy and “game culture by culturing games” (5). To that end, each of the twelve essays making up the collection investigate game studies within broader humanities traditions, from gender studies to Burkean rhetoric to Bourdieu’s cultural capital. Continue Reading

Wordplay and Video Games

Designing Words, Design, and Play

‘In the wake of ‘big rhetoric’, the tools of rhetorical analysis offer a perspective for scholars interested in studying how knowledge and situated truths are established in and surrounding games. Rhetoric can address the entire discursive environment of gaming as virtually everything can be described as rhetorical’ (Christopher A. Paul p. 6). Continue Reading

Morality After the Apocalypse

DayZ and Kenneth Burke

The online zombie survival shooter DayZ provides an intriguing example of morality and ethics in videogames, and as it is relatively new, has not received much (if any) academic attention. The game is an expansion mod created by Dean Hall, for the realistic military shooter game ARMA II: Advanced Operations, developed by Bohemia Interactive Studio. DayZ takes place in a massive, always-online game-space, in which the player begins a game session on a beach, in the midst of a zombie outbreak. Celebrated for its realism, the player begins with no items or weapons, no map, and no discernible goal. In fact, DayZ is effectively devoid of any narrative whatsoever. The morality and ethics then, by extension, are not forced scales included by the developers to make the world seem more interactive and malleable; rather, the morality comes from the players’ interactions with one another in the game world… Continue Reading