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Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture

Alexander R. Galloway
Volume: 18
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 160
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    In Gaming, Alexander R. Galloway considers the video game as a distinct cultural form that demands a new and unique interpretive framework. Using examples from more than fifty video games, Galloway constructs a classification system of action in video games, and, ultimately offers a new conception of gaming and, more broadly, of electronic culture, one that celebrates the qualities of the digital age.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9863-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. 1 Gamic Action, Four Moments
    (pp. 1-38)

    A game is an activity defined by rules in which players try to reach some sort of goal. Games can be whimsical and playful, or highly serious. They can be played alone or in complex social scenarios. This book, however, is not about games in the abstract, nor is it about games of all varieties, electronic or not. There is little here on game design, or performance, or imaginary worlds, or nonlinear narrative. I avoid any extended reflection on the concept of play. Rather, this book starts and ends with a specific mass medium, the medium of the video game...

  6. 2 Origins of the First-Person Shooter
    (pp. 39-69)

    The beginning of a medium is that historical moment when something ceases to represent itself. “The theater brings onto the rectangle of the stage, one after the other, a whole series of places that are foreign to one another,” wrote Foucault in one of his infrequent forays into aesthetics. “Thus it is that the cinema is a very odd rectangular room, at the end of which, on a two-dimensional screen, one sees the projection of a three-dimensional space.”¹ The movie theater is a complex intersection of seemingly incommensurate media environments: a three-dimensional space is used for viewing a two-dimensional plane...

  7. 3 Social Realism
    (pp. 70-84)

    On March 21, 2003, a day into the second Iraq war, Sony filed a trademark application for the phrase “shock and awe,” apparently for future use as a PlayStation game title. The phrase, and the American military strategy it describes, was in fact not such an unlikely candidate for the PlayStation. The console system has long flirted with game formats based in realistic scenarios, from Sony’s ownSOCOM: U.S. Navy Sealsto Electronic Arts’Madden NFL.A month later, responding to criticism, Sony dropped the application, stating they did not intend to use the expression “shock and awe” in any...

  8. 4 Allegories of Control
    (pp. 85-106)

    With the progressive arrival of new forms of media over the last century or so and perhaps earlier there appears a sort of lag time, call it the “thirty-year rule,” starting from the invention of a medium and ending at its ascent to proper and widespread functioning in culture at large. This can be said of film, from its birth at the end of the nineteenth century up to the blossoming of classical film form in the 1930s, or of the Internet with its long period of relatively hidden formation during the 1970s and 1980s only to erupt on the...

  9. 5 Countergaming
    (pp. 107-126)

    Artist-made video game mods are an unusual thing, for they seem to contradict their very existence: when the mod rises to the level of art, rather than a gesture of fandom—asCounter-Strikewas toHalf-Life—then, more often than not, the game loses its rule set completely and ceases to be a game after all.¹ Jodi’suntitled gamefollows this contradictory logic when it ignores all possibility of gameplay inQuakeand propels the game into fits of abstract modernism. Brody Condon’sAdam Killerdoes something similar, transforming what was once fluid gameplay into the brute art of red...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 127-136)
  11. Index
    (pp. 137-144)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 145-145)