game studies

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Matt Barton's picture

My Thoughts on Ian Bogost's Unit Operations

Unit OperationsUnit OperationsI just finished reading Ian Bogost's book Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism, a book that is probably already considered a foundational work for game studies. The book is clearly written for professional academics steeped in literary theory and with some smattering of reading in computer science, philosophy, and other fields. I can't tell if his tongue is in his cheek or not when he writes in the preface, "Jargon and obfuscation is a way of laying groundwork for novel production" and that his theory, like any other, "can't be obvious" (ii). However, there are plenty of kernels of interest to anyone with a serious interest in understanding games and, perhaps more importantly, the role they play and can play in our society and culture. In this review, I'll try to break down the book's key ideas.

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