August 26, 2004
Looks like The Handbook of Computer Game Studies, edited by Joost Raessens and Jeffrey Goldstein, is due out from MIT Press in January 2005. Both of the editors are from the University of Utrecht; The broad and nearly 500-page collection includes articles on video game prehistory, psychological research, video games vs. film and literature, and cultural connections. The contributor list includes several usual suspects (Henry Jenkins, Jesper Juul, Katie Salen, Sherry Turkle, Mark J. P. Wolf, Eric Zimmerman), a few less usual but well-known suspects (e.g., Justin Hall), and numerous other names I’m not familiar with — presumably some of those are coming from the psychological, film, or “prehistorical” angles.
The book’s goal of being a “comprehensive scholarly treatment” of game studies seems a little difficult for it to attain, if it means to be comprehensive by representing the writing of all the major scholars. From the list, it seems there are no contributions from Aarseth, Eskelinen, Ryan, or Tosca (the editors of Game Studies), from Castronova, Frasca, or others who have published in Game Studies, with the exception of Juul; from Brenda Laurel, Stuart Moulthrop or Janet Murray; from any of the presenters at the Princeton video game conference; or from those at several notable blogs and labs. That’s probably just a testament that game studies has already grown to be a sizable field with many important researchers. Whether or not this new book comprehends the field, through, it seems like it will offer a lot that is new to me, and that it’s poised to bring some interesting and previously segregated perspectives on computer gaming together.