Posts in Book Reviews
Many Splendored Things

It’s been a great year to be reviewing books that fall under the umbrella of game studies. This year has given us a labor history of gaming, queer studies, and the politics of game mechanics. A book about the nature of sex, play, and game studies feels like a perfect fit.

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Video Games Have Always Been Queer

In their latest book, Video Games Have Always Been Queer, Bonnie Ruberg lays out the case for the fabric of play and gaming being essentially queer. That title is, as internet speak suggests, something of a BIG MOOD and can serve as a rallying cry and a reminder: video games have always been queer.

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Marx at the Arcade

Marx at the Arcade, like Luigi in his haunted mansion, clears out the cobwebs and names the spectre haunting gaming. Woodcock’s text ties together several, hitherto disparate, branches of research and commentary into and of gaming. The text brings together modern labour movements, games criticism, and history under the umbrella of Marxist analysis.

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Ludopolitics: Videogames Against Control

We’ve never lived in a better worse moment for politics in gaming. Worse in the sense that mass layoffs, union busting, and the leftover gg trash pockmark the landscape like a bad skincare routine, and best in that now is the moment where taking a stand is starting to show its payoff. Game Workers Unite is gaining steam, Queer indie devs and Queer Game Studies are making bigger impacts on the industry and academia, and theorizing the politics of games is a scaffolding taking the shape of a space in which we can all find room. Coeval to this dialectical change is Liam Mitchell’s Ludopolitics: Videogames Against Control published in 2018 by Zero Books.

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Playing Smart

Playing Smart by Julian Togelius is the latest addition to MIT Press’s Playful Thinking Series. Readers familiar with the series will have an idea of what to expect – namely engaging, thought provoking, and fairly brief books.

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