Playing Power: Gaming Culture, History and Evolution 

This virtual display is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the complexity of virtual, tabletop, and other role-playing games. A niche culture no more, these books examine the culture, history, and evolution of the video games, role-playing games, board games, and more that occupy our free time. In a world with many worlds constantly at our fingertips, the study of games and play is a fascinating one. Check out the e-books below to learn more about the power of play!  

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Watch Me Play: Twitch and the Rise of Game Live Streaming  

T. L. Taylor, Bill Maurer 

Every day thousands of people broadcast their gaming live to audiences over the internet using popular sites such as Twitch, which reaches more than one hundred million viewers a month. In these new platforms for interactive entertainment, big esports events featuring digital game competitors live stream globally, and audiences can interact with broadcasters—and each other—through chat in real time. What are the ramifications of this exploding online industry? Taking readers inside home studios and backstage at large esports events, Watch Me Play investigates the rise of game live streaming and how it is poised to alter how we understand media and audiences.  

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Dungeons and Dragons and Philosophy: Read and Gain Advantage on All Wisdom Checks  

Christopher Robichaud, William Irwin 

Do demons and devils have free will? Does justice exist in Menzoberranzan? What’s the morality involved with player characters casting necromancy and summoning spells? Dungeons & Dragons and Philosophy probes the rich terrain of philosophically compelling concepts and ideas that underlie Dungeons & Dragons, the legendary fantasy role-playing game that grew into a world-wide cultural phenomenon. A series of accessible essays reveals what the imaginary worlds of D&D can teach us about ethics, morality, metaphysics and more. 

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Locally Played: Real-World Games for Stronger Places and Communities  

Benjamin Stokes, Tracy Fullerton 

In 2016, city officials were surprised when Pokémon GO brought millions of players out into the public space, blending digital participation with the physical. Yet for local control and empowerment, a new framework is needed to guide the power of mixed reality and pervasive play. In Locally Played, Benjamin Stokes describes the rise of games that can connect strangers across zip codes, support the “buy local” economy, and build cohesion in the fight for equity. With a mix of high- and low-tech games, Stokes shows, cities can tap into the power of play for the good of the group, including healthier neighborhoods and stronger communities.  

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The Queer Games Avant-Garde: How LGBTQ Game Makers Are Reimagining the Medium of Video Games  

Bonnie Ruberg  

In The Queer Games Avant-Garde, Bonnie Ruberg presents twenty interviews with twenty-two queer video game developers whose radical, experimental, vibrant, and deeply queer work is driving a momentous shift in the medium of video games. Their insights go beyond typical conversations about LGBTQ representation in video games. Instead, they explore queer game-making practices, the politics of queer independent video games, how queerness can be expressed as an aesthetic practice, the influence of feminist art on their work, and the future of queer video games and technology. These engaging conversations offer a portrait of an influential community that is subverting and redefining the medium of video games by placing queerness front and center.  

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Dangerous games: What the Moral Panic over Role-Playing Games Says about Play, Religion, and Imagined worlds

Joseph P. Laycock 

The 1980s saw the peak of a moral panic over fantasy role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. A coalition of moral entrepreneurs that included representatives from the Christian Right, the field of psychology, and law enforcement claimed that these games were not only psychologically dangerous but an occult religion masquerading as a game. Dangerous Games explores both the history and the sociological significance of this panic. Laycock’s clear and accessible writing ensures that Dangerous Games will be required reading for those with an interest in religion, popular culture, and social behavior, both in the classroom and beyond. 

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Collaborative Worldbuilding for Writers and Gamers  

Trent Hergenrader   

More than ever before, storylines from the world’s most popular narratives cross from the pages of books to the movie theatre, to our television screens and in comic books series. Plots intersect and intertwine, allowing audiences many different entry points to the narratives. One thing binds them together: their large-scale fictional world. This book guides readers through a step-by-step process of building sprawling fictional worlds complete with competing social forces that have complex histories and yet are always evolving. It also shows readers how to populate a catalog with hundreds of unique people, places, and things that grow organically from their world, which become a rich repository of story making potential. 

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Game Play: Paratextuality in Contemporary Board Games   

Paul Booth 

The 21st century has seen a board game renaissance. Once associated solely with geek subcultures, complex and strategic board games are increasingly dominating the playful media environment. Paul Booth examines complex board games based on book, TV, and film franchises, including Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, The Hunger Games and the worlds of H.P. Lovecraft. How does a game represent a cult world? How can narratives cross media platforms? By investigating the relationship between these media products and their board game versions, Booth illustrates the connections between cult media, gameplay, and narrative in a digital media environment. 

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Video Games Around the World  

Anthology  

This volume describes video game history and culture across every continent, with essays covering areas as disparate and far-flung as Argentina and Thailand, Hungary and Indonesia, Iran and Ireland. Most of the essays are written by natives of the countries they discuss, many of them game designers and founders of game companies, offering distinctively firsthand perspectives. Some of these national histories appear for the first time in English, and some for the first time in any language. 

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Social, Casual and Mobile Games: The Changing Gaming Landscape  

Michele Willson, Tama Leaver 

Social, casual and mobile games, played on devices such as smartphones, tablets, or PCs and accessed through online social networks, have become extremely popular, and are changing the ways in which games are designed, understood, and played. These games have sparked a revolution as more people from a broader demographic than ever play games. Social, Casual and Mobile Games explores the rapidly changing gaming landscape and discusses the ludic, methodological, theoretical, economic, social and cultural challenges that these changes invoke. This collection offers an insight into the changing nature of games and the impact that mobile media is having upon individuals and societies around the world. 

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Feminism in Play  

Kishona L. Gray, Gerald Voorhees, Emma Vossen  

Feminism in Play focuses on women as they are depicted in video games, as participants in games culture, and as contributors to the games industry. This volume showcases women’s resistance to the norms of games culture, as well as women’s play and creative practices both in and around the games industry. Contributors analyze the interconnections between games and the broader societal and structural issues impeding the successful inclusion of women in games and games culture. In offering this framework, this volume provides a platform to the silenced and marginalized, offering counter-narratives to the post-racial and post-gendered fantasies that so often obscure the violent context of production and consumption of games culture.

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Tabletop Role-Playing Games and the Experience of Imagined Worlds  

Nicholas J. Mizer 

In 1974, the release of Dungeons & Dragons forever changed the way that we experience imagined worlds. No longer limited to simply reading books or watching movies, gamers came together to collaboratively and interactively build and explore new realms. Based on four years of interviews and game recordings from locations spanning the United States, this book offers a journey that explores how role-playing games use a combination of free-form imagination and tightly constrained rules to experience those realms. By developing our understanding of the fantastic worlds of role-playing games, this book also offers insight into how humans come together and collaboratively imagine the world around us. . 

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Game Sound: An Introduction to the History, Theory, and Practice of Video Game Music and Sound Design   

Karen Collins 

A distinguishing feature of video games is their interactivity, and sound plays an important role in this: a player’s actions can trigger dialogue, sound effects, ambient sound, and music. And yet game sound has been neglected in the growing literature on game studies. This book fills that gap, introducing readers to the many complex aspects of game audio, from its development in early games to theoretical discussions of immersion and realism. Game Sound, Collins draws on a range of sources—including composers, sound designers, voice-over actors and other industry professionals, Internet articles, fan sites, industry conferences, magazines, patent documents, and, of course, the games themselves—to offer a broad overview of the history, theory, and production practice of video game audio.   

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Dungeons, Dragons, and Digital Denizens: The Digital Role-Playing Game.    

Gerald A. Voorhees. Joshua Call, Katie Whitlock  

Dungeons, Dragons, and Digital Denizens is a collection of scholarly essays that seeks to represent the far-reaching scope and implications of digital role-playing games as both cultural and academic artifacts. Contributors examine a range of games, from classics like Final Fantasy to blockbusters like World of Warcraft to obscure genre bending titles like Lux Pain. Working from a broad range of disciplines such as ecocritism, rhetoric, performance, gender, and communication, these essays yield insights that enrich the field of game studies and further illuminate the cultural, psychological and philosophical implications of a society that increasingly produces, plays and discourses about role playing games. 

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