Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Gaming in Central Asia

Beth Kolko and Cynthia Putnam wrote a first rate paper on gaming in the Internet cafes of Central Asia where they conducted a lengthy, and very impressive, field study. They argue that online games -- the fun games -- can familiarize people with computers, and we should be open to this possibility in the context of developing regions.

Kolko and Putnam are still making a "games can be useful" argument but with tact and sensitivity, and, I think, a certain political acumen. They don't expect low income people to confine their computer usage to education, finding, jobs and other instrumental purposes, but many of us are not quite ready to hear that, so the authors do an admirable job of valorizing games as inherently pleasurable, which we should not mind at all because effective technical education comes as a useful by-product.

An excellent read, here.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Galloway's Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture

Short but sweet. A good, clear discussion of the concept of diagetic play. Galloway says of video games, "One must interpret material action instead of keeping to the relatively safe haven of textual analysis."

I agree. In my book I came at this issue through activity theory, a very different approach, but, for the most part, the same sensibility as Galloway's, that video games are living actions.