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VWN Product Reviews: Well Played 1.0: Video Games, Value and Meaning

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Video games can be ?well played? in two senses. On the one hand, well played is to games as well read is to books. On the other hand, well played as in well done. This book is full of in-depth close readings of video games that parse out the various meanings to be found in the experience of playing a game. 22 contributors (developers, scholars, reviewers and bloggers) look at video games through both senses of ?well played.? The goal is to help develop and define a literacy of games as well as a sense of their value as an experience. Video games are a complex medium that merits careful interpretation and insightful analysis.

Like most edited collections of articles from authors of mixed backgrounds, what we get is something of a mixed bag. From the Half Life 2 review that feels a burning need to instruct the reader in the definition of a seesaw and how they operate in the playground, through to down to earth reviews of playing experiences such as World of Goo.

No actual multiparticipant virtual worlds are included in the mix, but still there is a great deal that can be learnt, for these, from such carefully thought out experiences at playing with computer mediated gameworlds, the positive aspects of interface, and the emotions, learning, and memories they evoke.


* Introduction
* Ico - Charles Herold
* Super Mario Bros. - Patrick Curry
* Advance Wars - Noah Falstein
* Ultima Underworld - Corvus Elrod
* Bully - Kirk Battle (L.B. Jeffries)
* Half-Life 2 - Mark Sivak
* Europa Universalis - Greg Costikyan
* Zork & Kingdom of Loathing - Brett E. Shelton
* Phoenix Wright - Mia Consalvo
* Shadow of the Colossus - Nick Fortugno
* Civilization 4 - Kurt Squire
* Parappa the Rapper - Katherine Isbister
* Portal & Passage - Nick Montfort
* Silent Hill 2 - Doris C. Rusch
* Bioshock - Clint Hocking
* Metal Gear Solid 4 - James Paul Gee
* Tempest - Mary D. Flanagan
* Guitar Hero - Jason Vandenberghe
* Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - Seth Sivak
* The Secret of Monkey Island - Clara Fern?ndez-Vara
* Mines of Minos - Jesse Schell
* World of Goo - Drew Davidson
* Author Biographies
* References

 

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