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  • Video games are a global industry, and their history spans dozens of national industries. Edited by Mark J. P. Wolf, Video Games Around the World covers gaming in areas as disparate and far-flung as Argentina and Thailand, Hungary and Indonesia, Iran and Ireland. On National Video Games Day, Mark J. P. Wolf reflects on the ambitious project of bringing together leading experts and game designers to discuss video game history and culture across all the world's continent.

    The idea for Video Games Around the World came when I was editing my two-volume Encyclopedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology, and Art of Gaming. Entries about the history of video games in various countries would come in from contributors, usually around a thousand words or so, and they were fascinating, but were so short that you only got a glimpse of what they were describing. I wanted to find out more, and thought there were enough entries on different countries and regions in the encyclopedia, that if I asked the same contributors to write full-length essays on their respective countries, I could have a nice collection of pieces on video game history around the world. So I started with the contributors I had, and decided to try to find more and fill in as much of the world as possible. That’s one of the things that makes an anthology like this more difficult to put together than the usual kind of anthology; besides the size of it, you have a set of topics that you must represent, and even missing one of them becomes noticeable and feels like the gap that it is. You can’t leave out Russia, or Mexico, or Japan, or the Middle East and give the feeling that you have covered the world; even missing one crucial essay would make the book feel incomplete. There had to be essays related to each continent, and each major national industry. (Completist that I am, I felt that in order to advertise that the book covered “every continent” something would have to be said about Antarctica, so I did some research and included a section on it in the Introduction.) So it was a matter of finding someone to write all the essays, and preferably people who were natives of the countries in question, and who understood the national context and culture firsthand, having grown up with it, or at least someone who had studied them in-depth.

    Posted at 09:30 am on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 in games
  • In Cultural Code, Phillip Penix-Tadsen examines Latin America’s gaming practices and the representation of the region’s cultures in games. He discusses his new book and how games have enormous potential for creating immersive and interactive cultural experiences.

    Posted at 02:45 pm on Tue, 29 Mar 2016 in games, technology
  • In How Games Move Us Katherine Isbister examines the ways in which video games can influence emotion and social connection. Below Playful Thinking series coeditor Jesper Juul interviews her about the new book.

    JJ: You have previously written about character design and about the design of user interfaces for games. What prompted you to write a book about emotions in games specifically?

    KI: My other books were written for game designers and developers, to help them improve their craft. I wrote How Games Move Us primarily for people who aren't immersed in game making. This book aims to help a broader set of readers understand the design innovations that have taken place in the medium, that shape how we feel when we play. 

    Over time, I realized many people I talked to about games outside the developer community had vague, sometimes sensationalist notions about how games make players feel. As a culture, we haven't yet developed a rich vocabulary for taking apart a game's impact the way we do a film's. This book aims to give people some useful ideas and terms to work with so they can get a more nuanced understanding of what games do and why. 

    Posted at 11:54 am on Fri, 11 Mar 2016 in design, games


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