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What’s in a Game? A Game by any Other Name Would Play so Sweet…

New Media & Society Journal

New Media & Society Journal

Available via New Media & Society.

Review essays can serve as an interesting moment to reflect on a given field [1]. In this case, I take each of these texts to fall within the broad heterogeneous field of Game Studies. That said, each text also falls into a variety of separate, yet connected fields/disciplines and demonstrates the wide range of diverse approaches to what can be called Game Studies. In some respects this makes this a particularly difficult review essay to write because outside of the fact that each is dealing with scholarly work around games, there is not a great deal of connective tissue connecting the texts. Two of the authors of these texts reside at the same institution and probably within the same unit or department, yet also exhibit very different empirical, theoretical and methodological approaches to the topic of “games.” Of course this isn’t particularly unique. This same thing could be said of when I walk down the hall of my own department. Yet, concomitantly, that is precisely what I think animates my review of these texts and many working in and around Game Studies would likely agree that often times even within our own institutions that the gulf between any given game scholar and another can feel cavernous. The domain of research in Game Studies encapsulates such a wide variety of empirical, theoretical and methodological approaches that it can often prove difficult from scholars that ostensibly work within the same field to find common ground.

About Casey O'Donnell

Casey O'Donnell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Information at Michigan State University. He is part of the games faculty and Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) lab at MSU. He is also part of the game development collective Affinity Games. His research examines the creative collaborative work of videogame design and development. This research examines the cultural and collaborative dynamics that occur in both professional "AAA" organizations and formal and informal "independent" game development communities. His research has spanned game development companies from the United States to India. His research examines issues of work, production, copyright, as well as third world and postcolonial aspects of the videogame development workplace.

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