Unit Operations An Approach to Videogame Criticism

ISBN-10: 0262524872
ISBN-13: 9780262524872
Edition: 2008
Authors: Ian Bogost
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Description: In "Unit Operations," Ian Bogost argues that similar principles underlie both literary theory and computation, proposing a literary-technical theory that can be used to analyze particular videogames. Moreover, this approach can be applied beyond  More...

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Book details

List price: $25.00
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 1/25/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 264
Size: 6.75" wide x 8.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.902
Language: English

In "Unit Operations," Ian Bogost argues that similar principles underlie both literary theory and computation, proposing a literary-technical theory that can be used to analyze particular videogames. Moreover, this approach can be applied beyond videogames: Bogost suggests that any medium--from videogames to poetry, literature, cinema, or art--can be read as a configurative system of discrete, interlocking units of meaning, and he illustrates this method of analysis with examples from all these fields. The marriage of literary theory and information technology, he argues, will help humanists take technology more seriously and hep technologists better understand software and videogames as cultural artifacts. This approach is especially useful for the comparative analysis of digital and nondigital artifacts and allows scholars from other fields who are interested in studying videogames to avoid the esoteric isolation of "game studies." The richness of Bogost's comparative approach can be seen in his discussions of works by such philosophers and theorists as Plato, Badiou, Zizek, and McLuhan, and in his analysis of numerous videogames including "Pong," "Half-Life," and "Star Wars Galaxies," Bogost draws on object technology and complex adaptive systems theory for his method of unit analysis, underscoring the configurative aspects of a wide variety of human processes. His extended analysis of freedom in large virtual spaces examines "Grand Theft Auto 3," "The Legend of Zelda," Flaubert's "Madame Bovary," and Joyce's "Ulysses," In "Unit Operations," Bogost not only offers a new methodology for videogame criticism but argues for the possibility of real collaboration between the humanities andinformation technology.

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).

Acknowledgments
Introduction
From Systems to Units
Unit Operations
Structuralism and Computation
Humanism and Object Technology
Procedural Criticism
Comparative Videogame Criticism
Videogames and Expression
Encounters across Platforms
Procedural Subjectivity
Cellular Automata and Simulation
An Alternative to Fun
The Simulation Gap
From Design to Configuration
Complex Networks
Complex Worlds
Critical Networks
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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