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Books

Playing War: Military Video Games after 9/11

Citation:
Payne, Matthew Thomas. Playing War: Military Video Games after 9/11. NYU Press, 2016.

Description:
No video game genre has been more popular or more lucrative in recent years than the “military shooter.” Franchises such as Call of Duty, Battlefield, and those bearing Tom Clancy’s name turn over billions of dollars annually by promising to immerse players in historic and near-future battles, converting the reality of contemporary conflicts into playable, experiences. In the aftermath of 9/11, these games transformed a national crisis into fantastic and profitable adventures, where seemingly powerless spectators became solutions to these virtual Wars on Terror.

Playing War provides a cultural framework for understanding the popularity of military-themed video games and their significance in the ongoing War on Terror. Matthew Payneexamines post-9/11 shooter-style game design as well as gaming strategies to expose how these practices perpetuate and challenge reigning political beliefs about America’s military prowess and combat policies. Far from offering simplistic escapist pleasures, these post-9/11 shooters draw on a range of nationalist mythologies, positioning the player as the virtual hero at every level. Through close readings of key games, analyses of marketing materials, and participant observations of the war gaming community, Playing War examines an industry mobilizing anxieties about terrorism and invasion to craft immersive titles that transform international strife into interactive fun.

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Books

Flow TV: Television in the Age of Media Convergence

Citation:

Kackman, Michael, Marnie Binfield, Matthew Thomas Payne, Allison Perlman, and Bryan Sebok (Eds.). Flow TV: Television in the Age of Media Convergence. New York: Routledge, 2010.

 

Description:

From viral videos on YouTube to mobile television on smartphones and beyond, TV has overflowed its boundaries. If Raymond Williams’ concept of flow challenges the idea of a discrete television text, then convergence destabilizes the notion of television as a discrete object.

Flow TV examines television in an age of technological, economic, and cultural convergence. Seeking to frame a new set of concerns for television studies in the 21st century, this collection of all new essays establishes television’s continued importance in a shifting media culture. Considering television and new media not as solely technical devices, but also as social technologies, the essays in this anthology insist that we turn our attention to the social, political, and cultural practices that surround and inform those devices’ use. The contributors examine television through a range of critical approaches from formal and industrial analysis to critical technology studies, reception studies, political economy, and critiques of television’s transnational flows. This volume grows out of the critical community formed around the popular online journal Flow: A Critical Form on Television and Media Culture (flowtv.org). It is ideal for courses in television studies or media convergence.

Categories
Books

Joystick soldiers: The Politics of Play in Military Video Games

Citation:

Huntemann, Nina B., and Matthew Thomas Payne (Eds.). Joystick soldiers: The Politics of Play in Military Video Games. New York: Routledge, 2009.

 

Description:

Joystick Soldiers is the first anthology to examine the reciprocal relationship between militarism and video games. War has been an integral theme of the games industry since the invention of the first video game, Spacewar! in 1962.While war video games began as entertainment, military organizations soon saw their potential as combat simulation and recruitment tools. A profitable and popular relationship was established between the video game industry and the military, and continues today with video game franchises like America’s Army, which was developed by the U.S.Army as a public relations and recruitment tool.

This collection features all new essays that explore how modern warfare has been represented in and influenced by video games. The contributors explore the history and political economy of video games and the “military-entertainment complex;” present textual analyses of military-themed video games such as Metal Gear Solid; and offer reception studies of gamers, fandom, and political activism within online gaming.