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Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism First Edition Edition

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0262025997
ISBN-10: 026202599X
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Editorial Reviews


"Bogost challenges humanists and technologists to pay attention to one another, something they desperately need to do as computation accelerates us into the red zones of widespread virtual reality. This book gives us what we need to meet that challenge: a general theory for understanding creativity under computation, one that will apply increasingly to all creativity in the future. Not only that, but we get an outstanding theory of videogame criticism in the mix as well. Highly recommended."--Edward Castronova, Department of Telecommunications, Indiana University, author of *Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games*

About the Author

Ian Bogost is Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in Media Studies and Professor of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, a Founding Partner at Persuasive Games LLC, and the coauthor of Newsgames: Journalism at Play (MIT Press, 2010).

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 243 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; First Edition edition (March 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 026202599X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262025997
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,776,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Ian Bogost is an award-winning designer and media philosopher whose work focuses on videogames and computational media. He is Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair of Media Studies and Professor of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Founding Partner at Persuasive Games LLC. His research and writing considers videogames as an expressive medium, and his creative practice focuses on political games and artgames.

Bogost is author or co-author of Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism, Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames, Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System, Newsgames: Journalism at Play, How To Do Things with Videogames, Alien Phenomenology, or What it's Like to Be a Thing, and 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10. He is a popular academic and industry speaker and considered an influential thinker and doer in both the game industry and research community.

Bogost's videogames about social and political issues cover topics as varied as airport security, consumer debt, disaffected workers, the petroleum industry, suburban errands, pandemic flu, and tort reform. His games have been played by millions of people and exhibited internationally at venues including the Telfair Museum of Art (Savannah), the Laboral Centro de Arte (Madrid), Fournos Centre for Digital Culture (Athens), Eyebeam Center (New York), Slamdance Guerilla Game Festival (Park City), the Israeli Center for Digital Art (Holon) and The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Melbourne).

His recent independent games include Cow Clicker, a Facebook game send-up of Facebook games, and A Slow Year, a collection of videogame poems for Atari VCS, Windows, and Mac, and winner of the Vanguard and Virtuoso awards at the 2010 Indiecade Festival.

Bogost holds a Bachelors degree in Philosophy and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, and a Masters and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from UCLA. He lives in Atlanta.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By lacanthropy on September 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
Bogost's begins with a promising venture into the video game territory. This time we are promised that video games are distinguished from books and films, and that the "ludology" of video games is recognized as an independent field. Bogost uses philosophy in order to accomplish this mission. Although when it comes to critical arguments, Bogost's approach is mainly Badiousian, he sets forth a rich array of classical and contemporary philosophies, from Plato to Spinoza, Deleuze, and Harman. I have this feeling that at some point Bogost emphasizes too much on the narrative and cultural aspects of video games and therefore, his project falls into the same category of mainstream cultural critiques of video games. But there are sections which penetrate right into the structure of games and their architecture. In these sections, Bogost uses a heavy deal of Badiou's axiomatic set theory to back up his theory of unit operations. This is not essentially a negative point but he could develop a genuine theory of his own and eliminate the risk of associating video games with philosophy which for the most part has the same restricting role of literature (the narrative) and cinema (the filmic) for video games. Overall, Unit Operations is a rich and an insightful book, but falls short in some of its ambitions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is how interdisciplinarity is done: Bogost weaves Madame Bovary, Grand Theft Auto, cellular automata and Deleuze together into a powerful theory cutting through the my-piece-of-the-elephant scholarship which dominates games studies.

If you have a particular need to feel uncultured and slow witted, this is definitely a 5 star recommendation: it's terrifyingly erudite while being, if not a stroll in the park, at least a manageable uphill hike through difficult terrain.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Song Z. on April 13, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first chapter is full of philosophical jargon. I understand that the author attempts to pave the way to his own method called 'unit analysis' through his interpretation and analysis of the preceding philosophers' theories.However, as a reader without a philosophical background, I find it extremely hard to figure out what those philosophers are talking about. They seems to just take some conceptions out of nowhere and, without a clear definition of what such conceptions are, begin to make up connections between them. This is really annoying. Furthermore, it inevitably impairs the credibility of the author's own theory. And it is reasonable to believe that this is the case for most readers who don't know too much about philosophy.
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