“Video Gamers”: New Book on Video Game Players and Culture
A new book published by British Sociologist Garry Crawford explores the culture and practices of video gamers. Playing video games is no longer the activity of a small minority of largely adolescent boys, but has become part and parcel of most of our daily lives. The American Entertainment Software Association suggests that ‘over two-thirds’ of all Americans now play video games, and the number is similar in the UK, which is the world’s third largest games market after the US and Japan. Video gaming has never been bigger, or more important, with console and computer game sales now outstripping most books and many major films. But video gaming is no longer just about an isolated individual sitting in front of a games screen, if it ever was. From the businessman in an airport playing Texas Hold ‘Em on his Blackberry, to a teenager whiling away her time on a bus with Pokémon, or a mom playing Microsoft Solitaire while nursing her baby, video gaming has become an integral part of our daily routines. But the cultural importance of gaming does not stop with the playing of a video game. Major video game releases, such as the latest installments of Call of Duty or World of Warcraft, have become important cultural events, discussed in offices, on playgrounds, and by water coolers, around the world. Video gaming is also increasingly influencing other areas of our lives. For example, video games are proving an extremely useful way of engaging and educating children (such as at the Quest to Learn School in New York), and video games are shaping other cultural forms, such as films, like Scott Pilgrim versus the World, which are full of video game references, or Sucker Punch, which heavily draws on the style and symbolism of video games.
However, it is fair to say, that to date, the majority of discussions of video games have focused most specifically on the games themselves or the interaction of individuals with the games that they play. Garry Crawford’s book is the first to explicitly and comprehensively address how digital games are experienced and engaged with in our everyday lives, and consider the cultural impact of gaming technologies. In doing so, the book provides a key introduction to the study of video gamers and the games they play, whilst also reflecting on current debates surrounding gaming practices. As the author states: “video games matter. Video gaming is now a very important leisure industry, but you cannot measure its importance in pure economic terms alone. Video gaming is something that most of us do. It is part of our lives, it is part of our routines, culture, and for many of us, part of our identity. It is part of what makes up our cultural lives, and in turn, it is shaping other aspects of life, such as education, cinema, even book publishing is becoming increased influence by gaming styles. It is about time we stopped seeing video games as a minority activity, undertaken in isolated places, like bedrooms and arcades, and started to realize how important this is, in all of ours lives and our culture”.
Video Gamers by Garry Crawford was published on the 5th August 2011 by Routledge (London & New York) at £25.99.
“‘Video Gamers’ outlines the extensive range and richness of player studies, and provides great service to students and research community alike by building bridges between several important research traditions. Moving from theories of gameplay to audience studies, player demographic research, as well as to studies of effects, immersion, performance, gamer fandom, subcultures, and beyond, Garry Crawford manages to demonstrate the versatility and depth of the social approach into the field of video gaming.” — Frans Mäyrä, Professor of Digital Culture & Game Studies, University of Tampere, Finland
About the Author
Garry Crawford is a Cultural Sociologist at the University of Salford in the UK. His research and teaching focus primarily on audiences and consumers, and in particular, sport fans and video gamers. He has published numerous works, including the books: Video Gamers (2011), Online Gaming in Context (2011, edited with V.K. Gosling & B. Light), The Sage Dictionary of Leisure Studies (2009, with T. Blacksaw), Introducing Cultural Studies (2008, with B. Longhurst, G. Smith, G. Bagnall & M. Ogborn), and Consuming Sport (2004). Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Video-Gamers-Garry-Crawford/dp/toc/0415674417
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