Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen, Jonas Heide Smith, and Susana Pajares ToscaEdit

The three co-authors are are members of the Center for Computer Games Research at IT University of Copenhagen.

Understanding Video Games: The Essential Introduction [2008]Edit

This text is clearly intended as a generalist introduction to video games, attempting to cover just about every mode of video game analysis. The book would make a servicable introduction (and useful to a scholar unfamiliar with the field). However, the book suffers for considerable editing and factual inaccuracies--frequent mispellings, inaccurate dates/spelling/names, and inaccurate and inconsistant citations riddle this text, speaking to either a rush job or a slack editor. Routledge plans for a 2nd edition, no doubt capitalizing on how useful this book is to an unfamiliar audience who would be unlikely to notice the errors. The history section, in particular, is clumsy and clunky, failing to distinguish between console and arcade computer games with the same name, downplaying the significant influence of Japanese productions in arcade history, and offering little to no technical analysis or larger historical context.

The book opens with a directed statement that the book with address the following questions: What defines a video game? Who plays games? Why do we play games? How do games affect the player? The table of contents is as follows:

1. Studying Video Games

2. The Video Game Industry

3. What is a Game?

4. History

5. Video Game Aesthetics (players, geography, rules)

6. Video Game Culture

7. Player Culture (metaculture)

8. Narrative

9. Serious Games--When Entertainment is Not Enough

10. Video Games and Risks (games and violence)