10-3 | Playing with Feelings: Video Games and Affect

Book Review

Playing with Feelings: Video Games and Affect

Aubrey Anable
Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2018. Introduction, acknowledgments, notes, and index. 152 pp. $25.00 cloth. ISBN: 9781517900250

by Wendi Sierra

First Paragraph:

Audrey Anable provides a succinct overview of her book early in the introduction: “I make a case for why media theory is not finished with representation and sub-jectivity” (p. xi). Of course, as you might imagine, making that case is anything but simple. As Anable discovers, much of game studies as a field fetishizes mechanics and computation as the distinguishing feature of gaming (and therefore the most important aspect for analysis). There are also profound and troubling reactions from various members of the game-playing public when representation is discussed. This, she argues, has left game studies ill equipped to address how feeling and emotion impact and enhance game play, a deficiency she notes is not limited to game studies. In response, Anable presents affect, which she defines as “the aspects of emotions, feelings, and bodily engagement that circulate through  people and things but are often registered only at the interface—at the moment of transmission or contact—when affect gets called up into representation” (p. xviii). This definition provides an excellent outline of the main points she explores in her work.