Today over half of all American households own a dedicated game console and gaming industry profits trump those of the film industry worldwide. In this book, Soraya Murray moves past the technical discussions of games and offers a fresh and incisive look at their cultural dimensions. She critically explores blockbusters likeThe Last of Us, Metal Gear Solid, Spec Ops: The Line, Tomb Raider and Assassin's Creed to show how they are deeply entangled with American ideological positions and contemporary political, cultural and economic conflicts.As quintessential forms of visual material in the twenty-first century, mainstream games both mirror and spur larger societal fears, hopes and dreams, and even address complex struggles for recognition. This book examines both their elaborately constructed characters and densely layered worlds, whose social and environmental landscapes reflect ideas about gender, race, globalisation and urban life. In this emerging field of study, Murray provides novel theoretical approaches to discussing games and playable media as culture.
Demonstrating that games are at the frontline of power relations, she reimagines how we see them - and more importantly how we understand them.
About the Author
Soraya Murray is an Assistant Professor in the Film and Digital Media Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), where she is also affiliated with the Digital Arts and New Media MFA Program, and the Art + Design: Games + Playable Media Program. She is an interdisciplinary scholar of visual culture, with a particular interest in cultural studies, contemporary art, digital media and video games. Murray holds a PhD in the History of Art and Visual Studies from Cornell University.