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How Games Move Us

How Games Move Us
Your Price: $31.50 CDN
Author: Katherine Isbister
Publisher: MIT Press
Series: Playful Thinking
Format: Hardcover
# of Pages: 192
Pub. Date: 2016
ISBN-10: 0262034263
ISBN-13: 9780262034265

About the Book:

This is a renaissance moment for video games – in the variety of genres they represent, and the range of emotional territory they cover. But how do games create emotion? In How Games Move Us: Emotion by Design, noted computational media scholar Katherine Isbister takes you on a timely and novel exploration of the design techniques that evoke strong emotions for players. She counters arguments that games are creating a generation of isolated, emotionally numb, antisocial loners. Games,Katherine Isbister shows us, can actually play a powerful role in creating empathy and other strong, positive emotional experiences; they reveal these qualities over time, through the act of playing. She offers a nuanced, systematic examination of exactly how games can influence emotion and social connection, with examples – drawn from popular, indie, and art games – that unpack the gamer's experience.

Katherine Isbister describes choice and flow, two qualities that distinguish games from other media, and explains how game developers build upon these qualities using avatars, non-player characters, and character customization, in both solo and social play. She shows how designers use physical movement to enhance players' emotional experience, and examines long-distance networked play. She illustrates the use of these design methods with examples that range from Sony's Little Big Planet to the much-praised indie game Journey to art games like Brenda Romero's Train.

Katherine Isbister's analysis shows us a new way to think about games, helping us appreciate them as an innovative and powerful medium for doing what film, literature, and other creative media do: helping us to understand ourselves and what it means to be human.

What people say:

"In How Games Move Us: Emotion By Design Katherine Isbister investigates how game creators are figuring out different ways to spring actual feelings from the jaded corridors of our psyches.... This book is about how designers take the human desire and capacity for feeling and turn all that into meaningful interactions with computers and, via computers, with other humans. It's something that happens, to one degree or another, with all games." — Polygon

"How Games Move Us is the first book to fully explore the complex social and psychological relationships we have with videogamesand each otheras we play. Whether you're a designer, a player, or someone who is simply curious about the human aspects of play, this small volume is packed with exciting findings that will inform how we play, make, and think about games." — Colleen Macklin, Associate Professor, Art, Media, and Technology, Parsons The New School for Design; Co-director, PETLab

"In How Games Move Us, Katherine Isbister gets to the heart of what makes games a powerful emotional medium. She writes clearly and persuasively about the actual techniques game developers use to reach players emotionally and explains why those techniques have impact. I particularly enjoyed the many examples of compelling emotional moments in games that illustrate and corroborate her analysis." — Noah Falstein, Chief Game Designer, Google

About the Author:

Katherine Isbister has long been one of the most important scholars of games and human computer interaction. She is currently Professor of Computational Media in the Center for Games and Playable Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of How Games Move Us: Emotion By Design, which addresses how games may create empathy and other strong, positive emotional experiences. She was the founding Director of the Game Innovation Lab at New York University. Her research has been covered in Wired, Scientific American, and on NPR and BBC radio.