7-1 | Aesthetic Theory and the Video Game

Book Review

Aesthetic Theory and the Video Game

Graeme Kirkpatrick
New York: Manchester University Press, 2011. Images, bibliography, index. 247 pp. $25.95 cloth. ISBN: 9780719077180

by Torill Elvira Mortensen

First Paragraph:

Graeme Kirkpatrick’s study of aesthetic theory and video games seeks to apply aesthetic theory to what some view as a garish, popularized, and mass-produced cultural form. What do video games have to do with aesthetics after all? Kirkpatrick takes this question head on and argues that video games are a“historically specific instance of an aesthetic form,” and as such they should be viewed through the lens aesthetics to be understood (p. 1). Over the course of six chapters, Kirkpatrick discusses the newness of what games bring to aesthetics. For the author, the newness of games is a specific way of approaching the text through the body, as a participant rather than as an audience.