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Social Statics: Or the Conditions Essential to Human Happiness Specified and the First of Them Developed (Classic Reprint)
Social Statics: Or the Conditions Essential to Human Happiness Specified and the First of Them Developed (Classic Reprint)
by Herbert Spencer
Edition: Paperback
14 used & new from $14.30

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING BOOK - Horrible scan of original version, September 5, 2010
Excellent book, horrible scan. So horrible I had to return it. And it pained me to do so because it rules so much.


Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames (MIT Press)
Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames (MIT Press)
by Ian Bogost
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $35.05
43 used & new from $9.98

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily one of most important books in game studies and design, July 2, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book rules. If you've ever thought to yourself (or screamed on the internet) about how videogames are as important or should be respected as much as other forms of art (painting, literature, film, etc.), then you should read this book. By describing and analyzing many examples of what he calls "persuasive games", Bogost clearly describes how games have already been used for expressive purposes by a variety of people.

To me, one of the most interesting parts of this book is its implicit call for, or at least emphasis on, a cognitive or rational approach toward expressive game design (and possibly art making in general). Bogost describes games as procedural representations of how the world, or some part of it, works (which, of course, are in themselves processes). Because videogames run on computers and the very nature of computation requires explicit and exact specification, when representing with systems it can be said that one is creating a complete "theory" of what is being represented. The canonical example of a game representing an ideological position through its processes is SimCity. SimCity presents a world that takes for granted that various forms of governmental planning produce very specific results (which are literally hardcoded into the system). Players are placed in a role where zoning, etc. is unavoidable and naturalized. To be successful at the game, players must understand and then enact the rules of the system. Depending on the player's criticality, or how successful the game's procedural rhetoric is (a very important term explored in depth in this book), he or she may accept the solutions to the problems into his or her worldview.

Bogost practically goes right out and admits that this approach to game design, whether taken intentionally or not, is propagandist. Though, a significant portion of the book is dedicated to describing a strategic mode of engagement for players to avoid blindly falling prey to procedural rhetoric. Part of this involves developing "procedurally literacy". This more or less means to be able to interpret systems or processes (a skill that no doubt has relevance in life in and outside of games). Next, he describes the "simulation gap" as the difference between one's existing ideas about something and the ideas that one believes the system to be representing. It is through awareness of what happens in this gap, or the dissonance created between the mental models (this shares many similarities with theories of dialectic/montage), that one avoids being blindly persuaded and instead learns/grows from a persuasive game. For example, because I am procedurally literate, my outrage at the "truths" presented in SimCity only strengthen my case against the state because it teaches me new things to be outraged about as I recognize where I disagree with what is presented or what passes for political reasoning (and for that I love and am indebted to SimCity!). A large portion of Persuasive Games is spent on how videogames, like SimCity, can be used as a way for citizens to express opinions, persuade and communicate about complicated processes.

The product description really sums it up: "Videogames are both an expressive medium and a persuasive medium; they represent how real and imagined systems work, and they invite players to interact with those systems and form judgments about them." How can that not sound profound, or at least enticing? Humans live in systems. This is meaning of life kind of stuff! Though it may be dense to some non-academic readers, Persuasive Games is one of the best books out there that describes how videogames can uniquely express ideas that are central to the human experience and I fully recommend it.


M-Audio Keystation 61ES 61-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with Semi-Weighted Keys (OLD MODEL)
M-Audio Keystation 61ES 61-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with Semi-Weighted Keys (OLD MODEL)
3 used & new from $169.00

20 of 55 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wash hands to avoid cancer, September 24, 2008
This is by far the cheapest and most full featured controller in this price range BUT it comes with a warning sticker about how you need to wash your hands after each use to avoid getting cancer or causing birth defects! Screw that.

I think this is despicable business practice and I only wish I could do more to hurt M-Audio's reputation than this.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 30, 2008 9:23 PM PST


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