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Paperback Critical Play: Radical Game Design Book

ISBN: 0262518651

ISBN13: 9780262518659

Critical Play: Radical Game Design

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Format: Paperback

Condition: New

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Book Overview

An examination of subversive games--games designed for political, aesthetic, and social critique.

For many players, games are entertainment, diversion, relaxation, fantasy. But what if certain games were something more than this, providing not only outlets for entertainment but a means for creative expression, instruments for conceptual thinking, or tools for social change? In Critical Play, artist and game designer Mary Flanagan examines...

Customer Reviews

1 rating

Great examination of play and games

"Critical Play" is one of those rare books that uncovers a world you never knew existed yet has always lain right before your eyes. I'm a pretty avid gamer, but despite my years spent with mainstream commercial games, it's only recently that I've discovered the serious games movement and designers trying to use games to express big ideas. What I thought was a recent trend, however, Flanagan shows is actually a longstanding, vital tradition. Artists and activists have been using games to communicate social commentary and subvert accepted norms for hundreds of years in an amazing number of ways. "Critical Play" does this incredible job of weaving together games, game theory, art, and activism to show how play can be a vital tool for cultural development. The book is broken into eight chapters starting with a look at domestic play ranging from subversive dollhouses to players modding the Sims. Other chapters examine board games (apparently artists love chess, I had no idea) language games, and what I was most interested in, computer games. Because I'm somewhat familiar with serious games now, I recognized a number of the examples from the video games chapter. What I didn't know was that there are a number of contemporary artists working with games or making game-inspired pieces. The book concludes with a brief chapter that I wish were longer exploring methods of designing for critical play. While I won't be making a game any time soon, the final chapter helped me understand the game design process better, and I think has allowed me to better read the games I play now. I picked up this book because I wanted to deepen my understanding of serious games, but I think it can be appreciated by people from all different backgrounds. Whether you're into art history, social change, media theory, or a range of other topics, "Critical Play" offers a unique lens through which you can view historical events and trends and imagine future possibilities. It provides a plethora of ideas to play with, and the understanding that play can be quite serious. I can't recommend it enough.
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