Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Literature on (Video) Games

As I mentioned in the last post, I write book and article reviews for ACM's Computing Reviews. I have been doing this since 1986, almost three decades. For most of that time I have been reviewing items in Information Systems. About five years ago, I started reviewing items within the domain of video games. And I can attest to the fact that the literature in (video) games is so far superior to the literature in Information Systems that the field of Information System should be crimson red with embarrassment. If ever there were a poor cousin, it is the field of Information Systems.

I put the word (video) in parentheses here for a reason and should explain that reason. The literature on video games only dates back to the first video games which was sometime in the 1960's. There are at least two wonderful books on the history of video games, neither of which are handy at the moment. So, I will check that date later. But, the literature on games and play goes back much further and requires almost no adjustment in order for it to provide a solid philosophical, sociological and psychological foundation for video games. In upcoming posts, I will introduce as many of these foundation works as I can. This is not to say that all the good work happened before the invention of video games. There are many excellent works on video games as well.  I hope to get to all of them as well. But, for now, I am going to laying down some foundation.

We can think of the literature of video games in terms of the following categories: philosophical, sociological, psychological, historical, empirical, and engineering or design. I have many books lying around and none of them have category stickers on them. So, I just made up those categories. But, I think they will work for the time being. And, in the next post, I will begin with some of the philosophical grounding. If philosophy gives you a headache, you may want to skip the next few posts. But, I encourage you to, at least, glance at them as the foundation work is important so you should, at least, be aware of it.

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