Well Played 2.0
More Perspectives on Video Games, Value and Meaning

Following on Well Played 1.0, this book is full of in-depth close readings of video games that parse out the various meanings to be found in the experience of playing a game. Contributors analyze sequences in a game in detail in order to illustrate and interpret how the various components of a game can come together to create a fulfilling playing experience unique to this medium. Contributors are again looking at video games in order to provide a variety of perspectives on the value of games.

As before, the term “well played” is being used in two senses. On the one hand, well played is to games as well read is to books. So, a person who reads books a lot is “well read” and a person who plays games a lot is “well played.” On the other hand, well played as in well done. So, a hand of poker can be “well played” by a person, and a game can be “well played” by the development team.

Contributors are looking at video games through both senses of “well played.” So, with well played as in well read, contributors are looking closely at the experience of playing a game. And with well played as in well done, contributors are looking at a game in terms of how well it is designed and developed.

As with 1.0, this book is completely full of spoilers on all the games discussed, so consider this your fair warning. While it’s not necessary, all the contributors encourage you to play the games before you read about them.

An initial idea proposed in 1.0 was to follow it with two books; 1.5 (with contributors writing on the games found in 1.0) and 2.0 (with contributors writing on new games that weren’t covered in 1.0). But the idea evolved, through the interests of the contributors, to have two books, 2.0 followed by 3.0, focusing primarily on new games. We’ll then follow these three books with a regular on-going series of Well Played publications open to anyone who is interested in submitting an essay analyzing a game.

The goal of all of these books, and the following series, is to help further develop and define a literacy of games as well as a sense of their value as an experience. Video games are a complex medium that merits careful interpretation and insightful analysis. By inviting contributors to look closely at video games and the experience of playing them, we hope to expand the discussion, and show how many different games are well played in a variety of ways.