Let’s be real: 2014 was a year full of suck for games. Between lackluster games and #gamergate, the gaming community took quite a hit. As a female gamer, this year was the first time I had logged off of a multiplayer experience in fear of being bullied beyond repair. In the end, this event only seemed to reaffirm the misogynistic conception of gamers in the public eye.
I can’t say I learned much from these social atrocities, so it’s time to take a different approach. This series of Player 2 posts will consist of two books every gamer should read to help the community. This week, we’ll briefly discuss How to Do Things with Videogames by Ian Bogost.
This book is a collection of short essays about a range of topics. Bogost depicts why video games matter in today’s media-driven culture. Each topic is explored in plain language to be accessible for every reader while introducing important new media scholars like Marshall McLuhan. It’s shallow enough for the everyman but specific enough for a game scholar to go to the appendix and research each topic further. Each essay is full of applicable, real (game) world examples that act as flint for deeper discussions of the medium. The gameography alone is expansive enough to traverse a diverse amount of gaming content. Even if you’re a well-versed gamer, these topics will give you a definitive vocabulary to explain things you already know while teaching you about other concepts you had no idea existed. (For me, it was the content management behind those creepy Burger King Xbox 360 games a few years back.) Bogost covers a range of topics from games-as-art to Easter eggs to political use of the medium. For now and for the New Year, I would like to talk about one chapter in particular: Reverence.