Celia Pearce

Celia Pearce is Associate Professor of Game Design and Head of the Game Design Program at Northeastern University. She is the author of The Interactive Book: A Guide to the Interactive Revolution. Artemesia is her coauthor and avatar.

  • The Infinite Playground

    The Infinite Playground

    A Player's Guide to Imagination

    Bernard De Koven, Celia Pearce, and Eric Zimmerman

    A play-centered invitation to experience the power and delight unlocked by imagination.

    Bernard De Koven (1941–2018) was a pioneering designer of games and theorist of fun. He studied games long before the field of game studies existed. For De Koven, games could not be reduced to artifacts and rules; they were about a sense of transcendent fun. This book, his last, is about the imagination: the imagination as a playground, a possibility space, and a gateway to wonder. The Infinite Playground extends a play-centered invitation to experience the power and delight unlocked by imagination. It offers a curriculum for playful learning.

    De Koven guides the readers through a series of observations and techniques, interspersed with games. He begins with the fundamentals of play, and proceeds through the private imagination, the shared imagination, and imagining the world—observing, “the things we imagine can become the world.” Along the way, he reminisces about playing ping-pong with basketball great Bill Russell; begins the instructions for a game called Reception Line with “Mill around”; and introduces blathering games—Blather, Group Blather, Singing Blather, and The Blather Chorale—that allow the player's consciousness to meander freely.

    Delivered during the last months of his life, The Infinite Playground has been painstakingly cowritten with Holly Gramazio, who worked together with coeditors Celia Pearce and Eric Zimmerman to complete the project as Bernie De Koven's illness made it impossible for him to continue writing. Other prominent game scholars and designers influenced by De Koven, including Katie Salen Tekinbaş, Jesper Juul, Frank Lantz, and members of Bernie's own family, contribute short interstitial essays.

    Contributors

    Ian Bogost, Stephen Conway, Adriaan de Jongh, Elyon De Koven, Rocky De Koven, Mary Flanagan, Gonzalo Frasca, Tracy Fullerton, Holly Gramazio, Catherine Herdlick, Jesper Juul, Frank Lantz, Colleen Macklin, Celia Pearce, Sebastian Quack, Lee Rush, Katie Salen Tekinbaş, John Sharp, Tassos Stevens, Akira Thompson, Greg Trefry, Douglas Wilson, Zach Wood, Eric Zimmerman

    • Hardcover $29.95 £25.00
  • Communities of Play

    Communities of Play

    Emergent Cultures in Multiplayer Games and Virtual Worlds

    Celia Pearce

    The odyssey of a group of “refugees” from a closed-down online game and an exploration of emergent fan cultures in virtual worlds.

    Play communities existed long before massively multiplayer online games; they have ranged from bridge clubs to sports leagues, from tabletop role-playing games to Civil War reenactments. With the emergence of digital networks, however, new varieties of adult play communities have appeared, most notably within online games and virtual worlds. Players in these networked worlds sometimes develop a sense of community that transcends the game itself.

    In Communities of Play, game researcher and designer Celia Pearce explores emergent fan cultures in networked digital worlds—actions by players that do not coincide with the intentions of the game's designers. Pearce looks in particular at the Uru Diaspora—a group of players whose game, Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, closed. These players (primarily baby boomers) immigrated into other worlds, self-identifying as “refugees”; relocated in There.com, they created a hybrid culture integrating aspects of their old world. Ostracized at first, they became community leaders. Pearce analyzes the properties of virtual worlds and looks at the ways design affects emergent behavior. She discusses the methodologies for studying online games, including a personal account of the sometimes messy process of ethnography. Pearce considers the “play turn” in culture and the advent of a participatory global playground enabled by networked digital games every bit as communal as the global village Marshall McLuhan saw united by television. Countering the ludological definition of play as unproductive and pointing to the long history of pre-digital play practices, Pearce argues that play can be a prelude to creativity.

    • Hardcover $9.99 £7.99
    • Paperback $29.95 £25.00

Contributor

  • Numbered Lives

    Numbered Lives

    Life and Death in Quantum Media

    Jacqueline Wernimont

    A feminist media history of quantification, uncovering the stories behind the tools and technologies we use to count, measure, and weigh our lives and realities.

    Anglo-American culture has used media to measure and quantify lives for centuries. Historical journal entries map the details of everyday life, while death registers put numbers to life's endings. Today we count our daily steps with fitness trackers and quantify births and deaths with digitized data. How are these present-day methods for measuring ourselves similar to those used in the past? In this book, Jacqueline Wernimont presents a new media history of western quantification, uncovering the stories behind the tools and technologies we use to count, measure, and weigh our lives and realities.

    Numbered Lives is the first book of its kind, a feminist media history that maps connections not only between past and present-day “quantum media” but between media tracking and long-standing systemic inequalities. Wernimont explores the history of the pedometer, mortality statistics, and the census in England and the United States to illuminate the entanglement of Anglo-American quantification with religious, imperial, and patriarchal paradigms. In Anglo-American culture, Wernimont argues, counting life and counting death are sides of the same coin—one that has always been used to render statistics of life and death more valuable to corporate and state organizations. Numbered Lives enumerates our shared media history, helping us understand our digital culture and inheritance.

    • Hardcover $32.00 £26.00
  • Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat

    Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat

    New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming

    Yasmin B. Kafai, Carrie Heeter, Jill Denner, and Jennifer Y. Sun

    Girls and women as game players and game designers in the new digital landscape of massively multiplayer online games, “second lives,” “modding,” serious games, and casual games.

    Ten years after the groundbreaking From Barbie to Mortal Kombat highlighted the ways gender stereotyping and related social and economic issues permeate digital game play, the number of women and girl gamers has risen considerably. Despite this, gender disparities remain in gaming. Women may be warriors in World of Warcraft, but they are also scantily clad “booth babes” whose sex appeal is used to promote games at trade shows. Player-generated content has revolutionized gaming, but few games marketed to girls allow “modding” (game modifications made by players). Gender equity, the contributors to Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat argue, requires more than increasing the overall numbers of female players. Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat brings together new media theorists, game designers, educators, psychologists, and industry professionals, including some of the contributors to the earlier volume, to look at how gender intersects with the broader contexts of digital games today: gaming, game industry and design, and serious games. The contributors discuss the rise of massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) and the experience of girl and women players in gaming communities; the still male-dominated gaming industry and the need for different perspectives in game design; and gender concerns related to emerging serious games (games meant not only to entertain but also to educate, persuade, or change behavior). In today's game-packed digital landscape, there is an even greater need for games that offer motivating, challenging, and enriching contexts for play to a more diverse population of players.

    Contributors Cornelia Brunner, Shannon Campe, Justine Cassell, Mia Consalvo, Jill Denner, Mary Flanagan, Janine Fron, Tracy Fullerton, Elisabeth Hayes, Carrie Heeter, Kristin Hughes, Mimi Ito, Henry Jenkins III, Yasmin B. Kafai, Caitlin Kelleher, Brenda Laurel, Nicole Lazzaro, Holin Lin, Jacki Morie, Helen Nissenbaum, Celia Pearce, Caroline Pelletier, Jennifer Y. Sun, T. L. Taylor, Brian Winn, Nick YeeInterviews with Nichol Bradford, Brenda Braithwaite, Megan Gaiser, Sheri Graner Ray, Morgan Romine

    • Hardcover $9.99 £7.99
    • Paperback $9.99 £7.99