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Alexander R. Galloway: Gaming. Essays on Algorithmic Culture

Video games have been a central feature of the cultural landscape for over twenty years and now rival older media like movies, television, and music in popularity and cultural influence. Yet there have been relatively few attempts to understand the video game as an independent medium. Most such efforts focus on the earliest generation of text-based adventures (Zork, for example) and have little to say about such visually and conceptually sophisticated games as Final Fantasy X, Shenmue, Grand Theft Auto, Halo, and The Sims, in which players inhabit elaborately detailed worlds and manipulate digital avatars with a vast—and in some cases, almost unlimited—array of actions and choices.

In Gaming, Alexander Galloway instead considers the video game as a distinct cultural form that demands a new and unique interpretive framework. Drawing on a wide range of disciplines, particularly critical theory and media studies, he analyzes video games as something to be played rather than as texts to be read, and traces in five concise chapters how the “algorithmic culture” created by video games intersects with theories of visuality, realism, allegory, and the avant-garde. If photographs are images and films are moving images, then, Galloway asserts, video games are best defined as actions.



1. Gamic Actions, Four Moments
2. Origins of the First Person Shooter
3. Social Realism
4. Allegories of Control
5. Countergamimg



Mediakcije series, book no. 310
Series editor: Janez Janša

Published by: 
Maska, Institute for Publishing, Production and Education,
Metelkova 6
, SI-1000 Ljubljana

e-mail: [email protected]

Original title:
 Gaming. Essays on Algorithmic Culture
Published with pemission of University of Minnesota Press, Minnealpolis, Minnesota, USA
Copyright ©Alexander R. Galloway, 2006
Copyright © For Slovene edition: Maska

Editor: Maja Murnik
Foreword: dr. Janez Strehovec
Language editing: Melita Silić
Index: Andraž Golc, Maja Murnik
Cover design: Martin Bricelj
Layout and pre-press: Vtis
Printed by: Cicero
Print run: 400
Ljubljana, 2011

Publication of the book was financially supported by the Slovenian Book Agency.
Pursuant to Article 25, Paragraph 7 of the Value Added Tax Act, the book is taxed at 8.5% rate.