The Performance of Video Games

Enacting Identity, History and Culture Through Play


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SKU: 9781476685496 Categories: , ,

About the Book

When viewed through the context of an interactive play, a video game player fulfills the roles of both actor and spectator, watching and influencing a game’s story in real time. This book presents video gaming as a virtual medium for performance, scrutinizing the ways in which a player’s interaction with the narrative informs personal, historical, social and cultural understanding. Centering the author’s own experiences as both video game player and performance scholar, the book thoroughly applies concepts from theatre and performance studies.

Chapters argue that the posthuman player position now challenges what can be contextualized as a lived experience, and how video games can change players’ relationships with historical events and contemporary concerns, ultimately impacting how they develop a sense of self. Using the author’s own gaming experiences as a framework, the book focuses on the intersection between player and narrative, exploring what engagement with a storyline reveals about identity and society.

About the Author(s)

Kelly I. Aliano is the manager of Education Special Projects at the New-York Historical Society. In addition to video game studies, she also works in the fields of queer performance and higher education pedagogy. She has taught at LaGuardia Community College, CUNY, and lives in Baldwin, New York.

Series editor Matthew Wilhelm Kapell teaches American studies, anthropology, and writing at Pace University in New York.

Bibliographic Details

Kelly I. Aliano. Series Editor Matthew Wilhelm Kapell
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 230
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8549-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4790-6
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Studies in Gaming

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface: “Finish the Fight!” 1
Introduction: Empowering the Spectator Through Play 5
1. Video Games and the Building of Legends 17
2. Theatrical Theory and Identity Construction in Video Gaming 39
3. Posthumanism and the Performance of Video Gaming 60
4. Playing with History in Video Games 81
5. Playing at History in Video Games 109
6. Considering Selfhood and Identity in Video Games 139
7. The Performance of Video Gaming in Daily Life 162
Conclusion: Building Bridges Through Video Games 185
Chapter Notes 195
Works Cited 209
Index 221

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “…an excellent and very original intervention that examines the gamer as an ‘empowered spectator’ who both performs and spectates, and then considers the implication of this in a consideration of the ‘posthuman’…”—Alan Filewod, Professor (retired), University of Guelph