Book: How to do things with Videogames by Ian Bogost

By Ian Bogost
University of Minnesota Press | 192 pages | 2011
ISBN 978-0-8166-7647-7 | paperback
ISBN 978-0-8166-7646-0 | cloth

In recent years, computer games have moved to the center of popular culture. Ian Bogost, a leading videogames scholar of videogames and an award-winning game designer, explores the many ways computer games are used today in a series of short, inviting, and provocative essays, arguing that together they make the medium broader, richer, and more relevant to a wider audience.

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“What can you do with videogames? Play pranks, meditate on politics, achieve zen-like zone-outs, turn the act of travel back into adventure, and describe how to safely exit a plane—among other things, as Ian Bogost explains in this superb, philosophical, and wide-ranging book on the expressive qualities of games.” —Clive Thompson, columnist for “Wired” and contributing writer for the “New York Times Magazine”

“Gamers often beg for a critic with the persuasive power and range of a Lester Bangs or a Pauline Kael. With this book, Ian Bogost demonstrates his capacity to take up their mantle and explain to a larger public why games matter in modern culture. The book’s goals are simple, straight forward, and utterly, desperately needed. “How to Do Things with Videogames” may do for games what “Understanding Comics” did for comics—at once consolidate existing theoretical gains while also expanding dramatically the range of people who felt able to meaningfully engage in those discussions.” —Henry Jenkins, author of “Fans, Gamers, and Bloggers: Understanding Participatory Culture”

Ian Bogost is an award-winning videogame designer and media philosopher. He is professor of digital media at Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as founding partner at Persuasive Games LLC. He is author or coauthor of several books, including “Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism,” “Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames,” “Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System,” and “Newsgames: Journalism at Play.” His videogames have been exhibited internationally and played by millions of people; they cover topics as varied as airport security, disaffected workers, the petroleum industry, suburban errands, and tort reform. His most recent game, “A Slow Year,” a collection of game poems for Atari, won the Vanguard and Virtuoso awards at the 2010 Indiecade Festival. For more information, go to

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