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Archive for the ‘Open-Peer-Review’ Category

Sascha Pöhlmann: Introduction: Video Games and American Studies

The present collection of essays poses two seemingly simple questions: first, what does American Studies have to say about video games? Or, put differently, how can American Studies as interdisciplinary Cultural Studies attend to what has emerged as arguably the most prominent medium and cultural force of the twenty-first century, in the US and globally? […]

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Mark J. P. Wolf: Video Games and the American Cultural Context

As the birthplace of video games and a major producer of them, the United States of America is the location of much of video game history, which is usually covered in detail when the history of video games is recounted. Although video games spread to other countries in the early 1970s, particularly to Japan and […]

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Michael Fuchs, Michael Phillips, and Stefan Rabitsch: The end is nigh! Bring forth the Shepard! Mass Effect, the Apocalypse, and the Puritan Imagination

The apocalypse is a foundational element of the American imagination and still influences the ways in which many Americans perceive the world, the course of history, and their providential role in it. Against this background, the image of America as a paradisal ‘city upon the hill’ contains a range of latent undercurrents that have placed […]

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David Callahan: The Last of the US: The Game as Cultural Geography

This chapter constitutes a reading of the geographical locations in Naughty Dog’s survival-horror, stealth action adventure game The Last of Us. To complete the game the player, in the form of protagonists Joel and Ellie, has to traverse a good portion of the United States in the classic East-West motion of American identitarian myths. The […]

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Patricia Maier: Mobility and Choices in Role-Playing Games

The cultural analysis of video games must consider at least two intersecting dualities. First, it needs to recognize that both the code underlying the game—and therefore its rules—as well as the fictional world play an important role, as Jesper Juul shows in his seminal work Half-Real when arguing that video games consist of “real rules […]

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Dietmar Meinel: Playing the Urban Future: The Scripting of Movement and Space in Mirror’s Edge (2008)

From Pong (1972) to Pac-Man (1980), from Space Invaders (1978) to Donkey Kong (1981), movement in virtual space has been one core mechanic of most video games. As computers and consoles became increasingly more powerful, both the digital representation of space and of movement in space became more elaborate, most notably in games such as […]

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Martin Lüthe: Playing on Fields: Seasonal Seriality, Tele-Realism, and the Bio-Politics of Digital Sports Games

On July 17, 1994, a soccer ball took flight in the midday heat of summer in California and traveled beyond the crossbar of the goal. Roberto Baggio, Il Divin Codino, “the godly ponytail,” recipient of the Ballon d’Or for the best player in 1993, had brought a soccer world cup to an end in an […]

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Stefan Schubert: Narrative and Play in American Studies: Ludic Textuality in the Video Game Alan Wake and the TV Series Westworld

The study of US popular culture has long focused—mostly implicitly—on a particular symbolic form, that of narrative. Popular crime-fiction or science-fiction novels, movie blockbusters, big-budget television shows, comic books or graphic novels, and many other types of texts and media that make up popular culture, while diverse in their specific aesthetic and medial properties, share […]

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Andrei Nae and Alexandra Ileana Bacalu: Toward a Reconsideration of Hypermediacy: Immersion in Survival Horror Games and Eighteenth-Century Novels

Probably more than ever, our contemporary media ecology is engaged in an immersion race that calls for the constant upgrading of each medium’s capacity to create the illusion of medial transparency. Although the aesthetic goal of erasing mediation can be traced back to the arts of the Renaissance, the push toward heightened realism and immersion […]

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Doug Stark: Ludic Literature: Ready Player One as Didactic Fiction for the Neoliberal Subject

There is no way out of the game of culture — Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction 6 Digital cultures are dynamic transmedia ecologies with access to vast cultural reserves. Modern technologies facilitate the coming together of styles, media, platforms, and peoples to form a network of communication and exchange. Products of this “convergence culture” (Jenkins), from Harry […]

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