Games are not

The difficult and definitive guide to what video games are

Author: David Myers

The nascent field of game studies has raised questions that, so far, that field has been unable to answer. Among these questions is a foundational one: What is a game?

Despite the widespread appeal of games, despite the rise of digital games as a global cultural phenomenon, vexing problems persistently confront those who design, play, and think about games. How do we reconcile a videogame industry's insistence that games positively affect human beliefs and behaviors with the equally prevalent assumption that games are “just games”? How do we reconcile accusations that games make us violent and antisocial and unproductive with the realization that games are a universal source of human joy?

In Games are not, David Myers demonstrates that these controversies and conflicts surrounding the meanings and effects of games are not going away; they are essential properties of the game's paradoxical aesthetic form.

Buttressed by more than three decades of game studies scholarship, Myers offers an in-depth examination of games as objects of leisure, consumption, and art. Games are not focuses on games writ large, bound by neither by digital form nor by cultural interpretation. Interdisciplinary in scope and radical in conclusion, Games are not positions games as unique objects evoking a peculiar and paradoxical liminal state – a lusory attitude – that is essential to human creativity, knowledge, and sustenance of the species

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