Sunday, July 23, 2006

half-Real by Jesper Juul

So a few weeks ago I finished reading half-Real and it took me a while to get around to writing about it because I had other stuff going on, but now I have finished reading it I can tell you that it is an excellent introduction to the field of video game theory. The book represents Jesper's Ph.D research into how the fictional and rule based elements of games exist as separate elements and then how they interact with each other to create the wonderful graphical gaming experience that we know and love today.

The title of the book half-Real, is a statement about game characters. The Queen character in chess is both a fictional character and part of the rules. So is not fully rule based (real) or fully fictional (not real).

A lot of what he talks about is very academic, but I didn't find fault in any of his arguments as he always backs-up his statements or discusses alternative viewpoints. Unlike A Theory of Fun where statements are made and then never discussed or where the reader is asked to make several big leaps of faith, half-Real has loads of references all the way through and I have since bought a few of the books Jesper references.

Normally when reading a book like this I will be writing notes and arguing points all the way though the book, but with this I only have about five markers, all highlighting very statements on Jasper's part which I found poinient.

Simply put, if you want to be able to talk about games on an academic level then you need to read this book. It covers the whole academic debate of what games are, and nicely defines, points out and discusses some of the sticking point of modern gaming debates around gameplay and narrative.