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Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds First Edition Edition

12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0262101103
ISBN-10: 0262101106
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Jesper Juul gives us an insightful analysis of the interplay of rules and fiction. Unlike so much of the academic literature on gaming, it's both concise and readable. Strongly recommended." Ernest W. Adams, freelance game designer



" Half-Real tackles key issues in games, from rules and structure to aesthetics and fiction to the complexities of player experience. Juul puts these topics in the context of current intellectual debates, making the book not just a playful exploration of games themselves but a celebration of the emerging fields of game studies and game design theory. Half-Real is essential reading for scholars, designers, and everyone in between." Eric Zimmerman, Cofounder & CEO, gameLab



"*Half-Real* tackles key issues in games, from rules and structure to aesthetics and fiction to the complexities of player experience. Juul puts these topics in the context of current intellectual debates, making the book not just a playful exploration of games themselves but a celebration of the emerging fields of game studies and game design theory. Half-Real is essential reading for scholars, designers, and everyone in between."--Eric Zimmerman, Cofounder & CEO, gameLab

About the Author

Jesper Juul is a visiting assistant arts professor at the New York University Game Center. He is the author of Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds (2005), published by the MIT Press, and of The Ludologist, a blog on "game research and other important things."

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; First Edition edition (November 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262101106
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262101103
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,370,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

My name is Jesper Juul, and I am a Video Game Theorist. My mission in life is to take video games seriously, while admitting how much I enjoy them.

My latest book is "The Art of Failure: An Essay on the Plain of Playing Video Games". In this book I show myself as a sore loser and ask why we play video games even though they often seem to make us unhappy?

I am an assistant professor at the New York University Game Center. Before that, I have worked at MIT, the Danish Design School and the IT University of Copenhagen. I have a PhD in video game theory (these things exist!), and an MA in Nordic Literature. In addition to writing and teaching about video games, I also develop them on occasion.

I grew up in Denmark, but since 2007 I have been living in New York. For updates or comments, visit my blog The Ludologist on "game research and other important things"!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Chico Queiroz on March 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In Half-Real, Jesper Juul presents us a not only a new definition for games (computer-based or not), but also an original perspective on videogames and how they operate. Going beyond the 'Ludology x Narratology' discussion, Juul balances the 'Rules' and 'Fiction' elements of video games, emphasizing how they relate to each other.

The book is very insightful, containing information that will be valuable to game designers, academics, gamers and new media enthusiasts. Although you could find some of the its content on Juul's previous articles available on the internet, they are much more complete polished in Haf-Real.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Reader on October 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very good book on the theory of videogames. Accessible, innovative, thoughtful, and centered on concrete (and popular) examples. He also includes lots of screenshots, which is good.

Juul takes what might be called a "grassroots" approach to game studies, not bringing heavy disciplinary baggage to colonize the area, but instead trying to build a formal theory of games from the ground up. He takes his lead primarily from game and culture theorists like Huizinga, Caillois, Crawford and Sutton-Smith rather than from literary theory or media studies. But he really charts his own course and stakes out his own ground in many ways.

He has a strong interest in game rules, which has led some to criticize him for being overly formalistic, but I find this a refreshing and interesting contrast to the more standard "new media" approach to video games.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Harviainen Jussi T on March 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I was sorely disappointed with this supposed game studies classic. While charmingly written and enforced with good examples, it offers nothing really significant. The author's definition of games is overly convoluted and not just a bit tautological. He has severely misunderstood both Suits' and Wittgenstein's ideas and thus represents them in a way too negative light. And the titular concept of half-reality is mostly just a useful simplification for speaking to people who have not read semiotics or hermeneutical appropriation theory.

If this is the first book on video game studies you read, it will look damn impressive. If, however, you are more versed in the field, and especially in the study of games and their like outside the video game perspective, it will look just misdirected, outdated and hopelessly shallow.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. L. Hochschild on October 24, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had to purchase this book for an English class where we discuss how we can use videogames to produce fiction, and also how to produce a videogame that is fiction, as well as how the two relate. From what we have covered so far it has really sparked my interest to pursue other literature in this category. Jesper Juul does a great job putting his thoughts out there, and it's been a great read so far.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was one of the first textbook-length studies of game design I ever read, and there's nothing that I regret about it. Full of tangible and theoretical knowledge, Half-Real is a great study backed up by evidence and themes. As an amateur game designer, and as an educator, the insights to how people engage with interactive content is one of the parts of this book that I really found to be memorable.

While many of the examples are dated (even for when I first read the book years ago), Half-Real is full of useful knowledge for designers, and its theory holds up solid. By connecting the elements of video games with a variety of other disciplines, Jesper Juul may very well change the way that you think about games at a fundamental level.
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By Amazon Customer on September 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an interesting read for anyone who wants a perspective about games and gaming from someone who isn't a typical "fanboy" or "industry geek." Some of the insights were a bit typical for what you might expect, but there were a few nuggets that showed that Juul actually took some time to think about the genre and how rules both affect and are effected in games. I found it a bit light on scholarly sources, but since he is a professor, perhaps this book is more what he is teaching in his class than his own research. Not a bad read, if you can stomach some of prose.
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