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How Games Move Us


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Katherine Isbister has long been one of the most important scholars of games -- and certainly the most empathic. Her new book, How Games Move Us, is an invaluable guide to the many ways that games can be designed to provoke powerful positive emotions, not to mention chills, goosebumps, and transformative experiences that change how we see ourselves and the people we play with. It's an essential read for all game scholars and game designers who want to make a real emotional impact with their work. -- Jane McGonigal, PhD, author of Reality Is Broken and creator of SuperBetter In How Games Move Us, Katherine Isbister gets to the heart of what makes games a powerful emotional medium. She writes clearly and persuasively about the actual techniques game developers use to reach players emotionally and explains why those techniques have impact. I particularly enjoyed the many examples of compelling emotional moments in games that illustrate and corroborate her analysis. -- Noah Falstein, Chief Game Designer, Google How Games Move Us is the first book to fully explore the complex social and psychological relationships we have with videogames -- and each other -- as we play. Whether you're a designer, a player, or someone who is simply curious about the human aspects of play, this small volume is packed with exciting findings that will inform how we play, make, and think about games. -- Colleen Macklin, Associate Professor, Art, Media, and Technology, Parsons The New School for Design; Co-director, PETLab You carefully consider the narrative, design, and technology for your game, but what of the emotions you are eliciting? Isbister's work courageously urges us to consider games as a means for communicating emotion, not just sights and sounds. How might you emotionally impact your player thoughtfully, and purposefully? -- Mark DeLoura, former Senior Advisor for Digital Media, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Creator, Game Programming Gems series Katherine Isbister is always insightful and thoughtful in her analysis of the game creation process, and in this book she continues to set standards and raise appreciation for the art of game-making. -- Tim Schafer, Founder, Double Fine Productions

About the Author

Better Game Characters by Design. She was the founding Director of the Game Innovation Lab at New York University. Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds; A Casual Revolution: Reinventing Video Games and Their Players; and The Art of Failure: An Essay on the Pain of Playing Video Games, all published by the MIT Press. Cheating: Gaining Advantage in Video Games and Atari to Zelda: Japan's Videogames in Global Contexts, both published by the MIT Press.


In How Games Move Us: Emotion By Design Katherine Isbister investigates how game creators are figuring out different ways to spring actual feelings from the jaded corridors of our psyches.... This book is about how designers take the human desire and capacity for feeling and turn all that into meaningful interactions with computers and, via computers, with other humans. It's something that happens, to one degree or another, with all games. -Polygon

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