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Friday, February 09, 2007

Review Of Galloway's Essays On Gaming

Pop Matters looks at Andrew Galloway's "Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture", a book on gamers, and gaming, in culture:

The most interesting of the essays, however, is the final one, an essay called “Countergaming” in which Galloway explores the effect of various game “hacks” on the part of the gamers themselves, ultimately finding the current incarnation of countergaming rather useless in the context of the medium it tries to revolutionize. This is because most of the hacks available separate the “play” from the “game”, turning the game into another medium altogether. These hacks are unplayable and, in many cases, uninterpretable, making them interesting only by the fact that they exist.

Galloway’s exploration of these topics makes for interesting, if not quite riveting reading. He never talks down to his audience, actually giving his work the air of academia in his choice of vocabulary, not to mention his historical and philosophical points of reference. Perhaps most importantly, he is very, very effective as a persuasive writer, exploring each of his points step-by-step, punctuating each of those points with at least one example (and often many more), arriving at his conclusions in a calculated, methodical manner. Even so, it is the parenthetical in that previous sentence that often dooms his writing, at least for the reader not interested in repeatedly poring over the text he has been given—Galloway has a propensity to overuse his examples, to the point where their inclusion becomes a distracting annoyance. This is a habit that extends beyond his videogame examples into other realms where comparisons are necessary; his movie examples are particularly pervasive in “Origins of the First-Person Shooter”, where he uses them as both platforms to jump off of and points of comparison.
-- Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture

Two smart posts in a row. Guess I made up for the Super Bowl ad with girls mud wrestling?

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