9-2 | Debugging Game History: A Critical Lexicon

Book Review

Debugging Game History: A Critical Lexicon

Henry Lowood and Raiford Guins, eds.
Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2016. Foreword, introduction, contributors, and index. 464 pp. $49.00 cloth. ISBN: 9780262034197

by Randy Nichols

First Paragraph:

As the first book in The MIT Press’ new Game Histories series, Debugging Game History: A Critical Lexicon has a heavy burden to lift. It needs to estab-lish the importance and usefulness of the series and, because it takes the form of a lexicon for a growing area of study, it also must create a space for a conversation in which it will take part. On both counts, the book succeeds. This success is, at least in part, due to the perceived newness of game studies as a discipline and to a lack of critical historical analysis in the forma-tive years of the discipline. The goal of the book, then, is to provide an explication of key concepts in game history that furthers our historical understanding of games to move beyond “the blindly celebratory” or the “merely descriptive” to a more analyti-cal phase (p. xiii). In trying to achieve this goal, coeditors Henry Lowood and Raiford Guins bring together a broad, interdisci-plinary group of authors to examine forty-nine key terms relevant to game history. Though largely focused on issues related specifically to video games, the book seeks a broader stance.