Trigger Happier
November 22, 2007 1:36 AM   Subscribe

Trigger Happier "Trigger Happy is a book about the aesthetics of videogames — what they share with cinema, the history of painting, or literature; and what makes them different, in terms of form, psychology and semiotics. It’s offered under a CC license, for a limited time only. I’m not sure how limited that time will be, so grab it while it’s hot." [drm-free pdf]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken (14 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
[via the newish and excellent gaming weblog Rock, Paper, Shotgun.]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:39 AM on November 22, 2007

It's a good read.
posted by nthdegx at 2:50 AM on November 22, 2007

Thanks. Downloaded and waiting to be read.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:52 AM on November 22, 2007

Thanks, stav. This sort of thing aligns with my interests—videogame aesthetics, RAWK!—and I'd wanted to flip through this book before, without ever having done so. Now I will.
posted by cgc373 at 2:52 AM on November 22, 2007

I had a browse through this book. Seems pretty solid and informed by philosophical aesthetics. Though 2000 seems drastically antiquated in this context, about the time I stopped playing video games actually. Nice to reminisce about golden-eye and metal gear solid though.
posted by leibniz at 3:09 AM on November 22, 2007

Thanks for that... it's one of those things I've been meaning to get hole of but not got round to it.

I always read Poole's reviews in the The Guardian.

Also just found this: Unspeak, about his book about the language of politics.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:50 AM on November 22, 2007

Excellent, I used this book a hell of a lot when I was writing my dissertation on Half-Life. It's a great read, it really tells you everything you need to know about games' history and theory.
posted by hnnrs at 6:50 AM on November 22, 2007

I've no time to read this now, what with four hours of preparing for company in front of me, but thanks!
posted by thecaddy at 7:37 AM on November 22, 2007

I actually borrowed this book from the library in 2002 or 2003.
posted by autodidact at 8:02 AM on November 22, 2007

Thanks! I love this stuff.

If you're looking for more to read, I posted an AskMe question a few months ago about academic writing on video games. There are some great answers.
posted by danb at 8:26 AM on November 22, 2007

If games are supposed to be fun, Adorno might have asked, why do they go so far to replicate the structure of a repetitive dead-end job? One very common idea in games, for example, is that of “earning”. [...] The only major difference between this paradigm and that of a real-world job is that, whereas the money earned from a job enables you to buy beer and go on holiday — that is, to do things that are extraneous to the work process — the closed videogame system rewards you with things that only makes it supposedly more fun or involving to continue doing your job, rather than letting you get outside it. It is a malignly perfect style of capitalist brainwashing

The major difference between a game and a job being of course that you can quit a game without consequences.

One could claim that the classic 2D platforms didn't follow that paradigm. There was usually a nominal goal but the focus was on using your abilities in a progressively better way to see every stage available (and beat a boss for good measure). As the game would always end seconds after you achieved your goal, I hereby claim 2D platformers were made in the spirit of Cavafy's Ithaca.
posted by ersatz at 8:31 AM on November 22, 2007

I used this book a hell of a lot when I was writing my dissertation on Half-Life.

Whoa. Can you post a link?
posted by gsteff at 8:54 AM on November 22, 2007

It's a shame the book was written in 2000, because this topic has exploded in the last decade and will probably continue to do so. The MMO genre is worthy of a book in itself; some of the architecture going on in WoW would make a pretty interesting study. And the game-economies that were merely a quirk in 2000, have exploded into real economies in 2007.

But this is fascinating stuff, and a truly neglected subject, perhaps due to its pedestrian nature. Oh academia, when will you learn?
posted by mek at 10:23 AM on November 22, 2007

Dissertation here.
posted by hnnrs at 3:15 PM on November 22, 2007 [3 favorites]

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