Video and Computer Games

Raiford Guins and Laine Nooney

in Cinema and Media Studies

ISBN: 9780199791286
Published online October 2011 | | DOI:
Video and Computer Games


It almost goes without saying that video games have made a profound impact across culture and society. According to the Electronic Software Association, 67 percent of households within the United States play video and/or computer games. The average video game player is age thirty-four and has been playing games for well over a decade. Gamer demographics have also shifted significantly, as women and girls constitute 40 percent of gamers while, in 2010, 26 percent of gamers are over the age of fifty. Economically, video games have made a huge contribution to the global economy, with US sales estimated at $10.5 billion in 2009. Culturally, video games have radically reshaped our engagements with play, social experience, daily life, art, learning, new media, and our understandings and practices of culture in general. Video games have become part of our everyday life, as we experience them on our phones (42 percent of Americans play games on their mobile devices), online, at home, and increasingly within institutions of higher education. The first decade of the 21st century witnessed a significant growth in the scholarly study of video games, best evidenced by the emergence of game studies across North America, Europe, and Australasia. This growth would certainly give credence to Espen Aarseth’s declaration in Game Studies that 2001 is “year one of Computer Game Studies as an emerging, viable, international, academic field.” Where in the late 20th century a handful of academic texts helped initiate video games as an important research subject within the humanities and social sciences, today numerous universities offer courses on video games as part of their undergraduate curriculum and/or graduate programs; the professional study of games is further supported by peer-reviewed journals, international organizations, book series on major university presses, and through no shortage of academic conferences. Themes prevalent to the teaching and research of video games include, but are not limited to, the following: history; design and aesthetics; criticism and theory; worlds and spaces of games; play and players; identity, industry, business, and labor; civic engagement and ethics; military and the military entertainment complex; education and learning; regulation and law; transmedia and media convergence; hardware and storage media; and preservation.

Article.  9608 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies ; Film ; Radio ; Television

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