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Mary Flanagan - Critical Play

For many players, games are entertainment, diversion, relaxation,
fantasy. But what if certain games were something more than this,
providing not only outlets for entertainment but a means for creative
expression, instruments for conceptual thinking, or tools for social
change? In Critical Play, artist and game designer Mary Flanagan
examines alternative games — games that challenge the accepted norms
embedded within the gaming industry — and argues that games designed by
artists and activists are reshaping everyday game culture. Flanagan
provides a lively historical context for critical play through
twentieth-century art movements, connecting subversive game design to
subversive art: her examples of “playing house” include Dadaist puppet
shows and The Sims. She looks at artists’ alternative computer-based
games and explores games for change, considering the way activist
concerns — including worldwide poverty and AIDS — can be incorporated
into game design. Arguing that this kind of conscious practice — which
now constitutes the avant-garde of the computer game medium — can
inspire new working methods for designers, Flanagan offers a model for
designing that will encourage the subversion of popular gaming tropes
through new styles of game making, and proposes a theory of alternate
game design that focuses on the reworking of contemporary popular game

Publisher: MIT Press / ISBN: 9780262518659
Medium: Book


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