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The computer game as fictional form
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This book is dedicated to the study of computer games in terms of the stories they tell and the manner of their telling. It applies practices of reading texts from literary and cultural studies to consider the computer game as an emerging mode of contemporary storytelling. The book contains detailed discussion of narrative and realism in four of the most significant games of the last decade: ‘Tomb Raider’, ‘Half-Life’, ‘Close Combat’, and ‘Sim City’. It recognises the excitement and pleasure that has made the computer game such a massive global phenomenon.

Open Access (free)
Reading Half-Life
Barry Atkins

3 Gritty realism: reading Half-Life Half-Life [inc. Half-Life (1998), Half-Life: Opposing Force (1999), Half-Life: Blue Shift (2001)]. First-person shooter. The player controls the actions of an in-game protagonist from a firstperson perspective. What the player sees is what the protagonist would see. Progression through the game largely involves forward movement through a series of areas within a government research complex. There is a limited need to interact with objects and the landscape. All versions of the game offer variations on a basic escape and

in More than a game
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J. A. Smith

 – and that such self-confirming statements are a constituent part of the persecution of Clarissa that Richardson represents in the novel’s early volumes. In Chapters  2 and 3, I  showed, from the perspectives of Clarissa and Lovelace respectively, how preoccupied the novel becomes with the limits of such quotational forms of authority, specifically at the caesural juncture of the rape. Finally, in Chapter 4, I drew on Walter Benjamin’s vocabulary for describing the baroque to examine the accelerated half-life of the received notions in the novel’s final sections

in Samuel Richardson and the theory of tragedy
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Something rich and strange

Manchester: Something rich and strange challenges us to see the quintessential post-industrial city in new ways. Bringing together twenty-three diverse writers and a wide range of photographs of Greater Manchester, it argues that how we see the city can have a powerful effect on its future – an urgent question given how quickly the urban core is being transformed. The book uses sixty different words to speak about the diversity of what we think of as Manchester – whether the chimneys of its old mills, the cobbles mostly hidden under the tarmac, the passages between terraces, or the everyday act of washing clothes in a laundrette. Unashamedly down to earth in its focus, this book makes the case for a renewed imaginative relationship that recognises and champions the fact that we’re all active in the making and unmaking of urban spaces.

Place, space and discourse
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Identity is often regarded as something that is possessed by individuals, states, and other agents. In this edited collection, identity is explored across a range of approaches and under-explored case studies with a view to making visible its fractured, contingent, and dynamic features. The book brings together themes of belonging and exclusion, identity formation and fragmentation. It also examines how identity functions in discourse, and the effects it produces, both materially and in ideational terms. Taking in case studies from Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America, the various chapters interrogate identity through formal governing mechanisms, popular culture and place. These studies demonstrate the complex and fluid nature of identity and identity practices, as well as implications for theorising identity.

Open Access (free)
Reading Close Combat
Barry Atkins

, of conflict. Of all the game-fictions selected as primary examples in this study, Close Combat is the least likely to be an instantly recognisable brand name even to those who spend their leisure time staring at a computer monitor. Its relative popularity as a games franchise might be indicated by the longevity of a series that had seen five episodes released by the year 2000, but it has hardly become a household name in the same way that Half-Life, Tomb Raider, or SimCity have. Its profile even among other real-time strategy games, itself an extremely popular sub

in More than a game
Open Access (free)
Reading SimCity
Barry Atkins

game-fictions driven forwards by their move from moment to moment of extreme violence might chap5.p65 111 13/02/03, 14:23 112 More than a game also come as something of a surprise. Forms of conflict and confrontation have always played a major part in the structuring of both games and popular fictions, after all. We know where we are, in story terms, where there is a loaded gun available and a slavering alien or shambling zombie in front of us. How we ‘should’, or how we ‘can’, read such a plot fragment is obvious. Where Tomb Raider and Half-Life had obvious

in More than a game
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Becky Alexis-Martin

, the Holt Radium Institute was renamed the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research. However, it continued to develop new cancer treatments – from breast cancer drug Tamoxifen, to photodynamic therapy for skin cancer. As part of the Christie Hospital, it has subsequently grown into the largest centre for cancer treatment in Europe. The story of Manchester radium is still not over. A different isotope, radium-223, was EU-approved for the treatment of prostate cancer bone metastases in 2013. Unlike radium-226, this isotope has a half-life that expires in a matter of days

in Manchester
Open Access (free)
Barry Atkins

of Better Than Life, like the players of Half-Life, ‘know’ that this is not the real, for all that the fulfilment of their inner desires persuades them to lie to themselves and remain ‘immersed’. Red Dwarf is not merely science fiction, but science fiction parody, and much entertainment is provided by the audience knowledge and protagonist ignorance that this allows. The eventual realisation of the fictionality of the experience of Better Than Life (and that it is killing the players in the real world as they neglect all those inconvenient bodily matters not dealt

in More than a game
Tim Strangleman

politics of what we have come to call ‘deindustrialization’. (2003: 1–2) They argued for a more considered view as to what this all meant: what were the longer-term patterns and issues and what was at stake? This emphasis on the long-term consequences of industrial change coupled with a desire to reach back historically to ground an understanding of industrial culture gives a particular richness to debates and commentary within the USA, arguably one that is lacking in the UK. More recently still literature scholar Sherry Linkon has developed the phrase the ‘half-life

in Revisiting Divisions of Labour