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The Medium of the Video Game 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0292791503
ISBN-10: 029279150X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book offers a historical, formal analysis of video games that no other book to date has provided in such detail... Wolf also effectively investigates the scientific and market forces that aligned with the development of video games to create a powerful cultural force." - Heather Gilmour, Executive Producer, American Film Institute New Media Ventures

Review

This book offers a historical, formal analysis of video games that no other book to date has provided in such detail. . . . Wolf also effectively investigates the scientific and market forces that aligned with the development of video games to create a powerful cultural force. (Heather Gilmour, Executive Producer, American Film Institute New Media Ventures)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 223 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press; 1 edition (February 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 029279150X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292791503
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,551,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Bryan-mitchell Young on March 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Medium of the Video Game is an anthology edited by Mark J. P. Wolf. However, to say that Wolf is only the editor is really an understatement, Medium of the Video Game is really his baby. Of the nine essays in this book, five of them are his.

Wolf is coming from a film theory perspective. Hence he is emphasizing the video part of the term videogame (a notion I disagree with. I feel the fact that they are games is more important than the fact that they are video).
More than this, however, Wolf is concerned with categorization. He lists eleven different types of spacial structures and forty-two different videogame genres. One of the problems with this is that some of his categories are questionable. Amongst his genres he lists diagnostics, demos and utilities. While it may be argued that demos are a distinct genre as they are trying to make you buy the full game (an argument I do not buy), I fail to see how diagnostics or utilities can be classified as genres of games of any sort. His rational seems to be that they come in cartridges or CD-ROM's like games and some game collectors collect them too, so they are the same as games. If you do a web search for his name and the book title you will find this chapter online, so you can make up your own mind about this issue.
There is one section that I do think deserves praise, the appendix. In the appendix, Wolf has has collected a fairly large listing of resources for video game research. He lists websites, books, and periodical articles as well as emulators. It is a valuable resource. However, I did not find the rest of the book as usefull and cannot really recommend buying it.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By essetesse on December 26, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
25%: review of early days of videogames. including a lengthy foreword by ralph baer where he greedily stakes out his portion of the 'inventor of videogames' title. this part is largely dismissable and you can get better info off of a few google searches

5%: talking about status of videogame as art, and trying to legitimize videogame theory as academic pursuit. also worthless

10%: basic technical talk about how games work. useful information, for the uninitiated

60%: good solid talk about games. including a crazy taxonomization of games based on space/time/narrative/genre, 4 separate analyses each of which errs on presenting *too* many categories, which i found to really stretch the mind even if some of them are a little implausable. it is original and interesting. tho this was written a few years ago, it still contains gems that haven't entered the mainstream dialogue, so well worth reading. also a nice essay on the psychology of archetypes in games.

it is interesting too because it is somewhat out of date. you can feel how different the world of gamethought is today than it was in 2001. they use a lot of examples of old games, which is good grounding for younger gamers. curious that the author uses the same examples over and over again (such as the Spy vs Spy game, which is repeatedly mentioned -- why this game?)
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Ng on September 21, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Used this great book for my Masters Thesis on Video Games in the Museum.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tiff on October 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I needed this book for a class.
It is an easy read and was an interesting aspect of video games and what they mean to people and culture.

I'd recommend this to anyone looking to educate themselves in the world's gaming lifespan.
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7 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Ralston on February 17, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mark Wolf presents a ground breaking and thorough examination of the video game as artistic medium, cultural phenomena, and a meaningful portal for understanding the context of what has become our new digital lifestyle.
A "Popular Electronics" January 1975 cover picture of the Altair computer kit prompted the founding of the Homebrew Computer Club, another milestone in history as we know it, which preceded the surge of features and utilities that characterized personal computers with recordable cassette tape drives in the late '70s and early '80s such as Atari, Apple and Commodore. Thus making it relatively easier for individuals to expand creative boundaries, soon to be seen as an inescapable irony allowing some early dark shadows such as "Custer's Revenge" and "FireBug", beginning a long list of collateral, ghastly underworld currents there are now. While we can trust our emerging philosophical inquiries will, in good conscience, examine the pressure to balance those freedoms with responsibility, our generation may so far have not completely charted moral consequences for a healthy society. Obviously video games are not just a fantasy theater, as some might fear, for the furious expression of male adolescent rage fueling new ideologies of terror, misogyny and brutalization throughout the modern world. "First person shooters" can visually and mentally exercise ethnic biases and assorted prejudices that assault human sensibilities and continually challenge the boundaries of those creative freedoms. And we cannot ignore some underground travesties that mimic other "unthinkables" like Columbine, Oklahoma City and Ground Zero.
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