Half-real: Video Games Between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds

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MIT Press, 2005 - Computers - 233 pages
8 Reviews

A video game is half-real: we play by real rules while imagining a fictional world.We win or lose the game in the real world, but we slay a dragon (for example) only in the world ofthe game. In this thought-provoking study, Jesper Juul examines the constantly evolving tensionbetween rules and fiction in video games. Discussing games from Pong to The Legend of Zelda, fromchess to Grand Theft Auto, he shows how video games are both a departure from and a development oftraditional non-electronic games. The book combines perspectives from such fields as literary andfilm theory, computer science, psychology, economic game theory, and game studies, to outline atheory of what video games are, how they work with the player, how they have developed historically,and why they are fun to play.Locating video games in a history of games that goes back to AncientEgypt, Juul argues that there is a basic affinity between games and computers. Just as the printingpress and the cinema have promoted and enabled new kinds of storytelling, computers work as enablersof games, letting us play old games in new ways and allowing for new kinds of games that would nothave been possible before computers. Juul presents a classic game model, which describes thetraditional construction of games and points to possible future developments. He examines how rulesprovide challenges, learning, and enjoyment for players, and how a game cues the player intoimagining its fictional world. Juul's lively style and eclectic deployment of sources will makeHalf-Real of interest to media, literature, and game scholars as well as to game professionals andgamers.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - breadhat - LibraryThing

A very solid title. While I wouldn't recommend it for someone who wanted casual insight into the critical study of video games, it is a crucial resource for the researcher. There is much thorough and clear-headed analysis to serve as a springboard for future investigations. Read full review

Review: Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds

User Review  - Renee - Goodreads

I also read this book for a class, the concepts were quite interesting. Read full review

Contents

Video Games and the Classic Game Model
23
Rules
34
Fiction
121
Copyright

2 other sections not shown

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About the author (2005)

Jesper Juul is Visiting Assistant Arts Professor at the New York University Game Center. He is the author of Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds (2005), published by the MIT Press.

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