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assignments, gaming

Alex Galloway and Gaming

Gaming is the last academic book we will read for this course (Ready Player One is a novel). It is a short but challenging book. Perhaps the most theoretical/philosophical of those we have read in this class. If McGonigal’s book focused on psychology and Nardi’s book focuses on sociology, the Galloway’s focuses on the functionality of gaming itself. The subtitle to the book is “Essays on Algorithmic Culture.” Algorithmic culture would be the cultural effects of the algorithms of games, the interactive, programmed mechanisms that drive video games. As the title also suggests, these are essays (plural), which means each chapter is a fairly stand alone part. The first chapter does work as an introduction, but each following chapter address an independent subject. Of all the books we’ve read, I think this one gives you the best sense of what “video game studies” is like, at least within the humanities. The basic move in these essays is to examine how different algorithms in different kinds of games intersect with ideology and cultural values.

Since there are five chapters, we will try to address one per day over the next five days. It does seem like folks are a little behind so we might end up going into next week.

Here is info on Alex Galloway:

Home Page



About Alex Reid

Associate Professor and Director of Composition in the English Department at the University at Buffalo


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