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.
“Well Played 2.0 continues the tradition of quirky, profound, curiously heartfelt essays about a medium that has rapidly transformed our cultural landscape these last 30 years. From playing handheld games to help bear the tattoo needle’s bite, to ruminations on whether playing a demon greedily acquiring souls makes one somehow demonlike, this is writing about gameplay that you’ll see nowhere else. Bravo to Drew Davidson for creating a venue for this kind of writing and reflection–I look forward to all the iterations to come.” Katherine Isbister, Associate Professor, NYU Polytechnic Institute
“The ideas that fill the pages of Well Played 2.0 — like the games they describe — are provocative, poetic, clever, unusual, insightful, articulate, nostalgic, surprising, challenging and, of course, appropriately playful. Rife with descriptions of subtle discoveries, less traveled paths, and mysterious lost worlds, this is a guidebook for past and future adventurers; there is treasure here.” Tracy Fullerton, Director, Game Innovation Lab, USC School of Cinematic Arts, Interactive Media Division
“Underlying the surface of every great game is an experience that can only be abstracted with words, hinted at by initiated players exchanging knowing looks. Manipulating systems toward an end goal, effecting your will upon a microcosm, making a series of decisions within an emotionally evocative framework then witnessing their catastrophic or sublime outcome…these are the secret and epic movements transpiring within the minds of game players.” Harvey Smith, Co-Creative Director, Arkane Studios
“I think that a robust professional and academic critical context is an important adjunct to the creative culture that produces games, and that advancement in a form is rarely possible without it.” Richard Lemarchand, Lead Game Designer, Naughty Dog