11-3 | Future Gaming: Creative Interventions in Video Game Culture

Book Review

Future Gaming: Creative Interventions in Video Game Culture

Paolo Ruffino
London, England: Goldsmiths Press, 2018. References and index. 145 pp. $30.00 hardcover. ISBN: 9781906897550

by Anastasia Salter

First Paragraph:

In the introduction to Future Gaming: Creative Interventions in Video Game Culture, Paolo Ruffino notes that the game industry has been obsessed with predicting its own future as a force for world changing even as it is in the midst of an identity crisis (and, notably, a labor crisis). The narrative of games is certainly forward facing: whole conventions are dedicated to revealing the next big thing. Yet optimistic views of a continually progressive future for gaming do not reconcile well with a cultural moment that includes “gamergate”—a culture war over “gamer” identity that started with an attack on game designer Zoe Quinn by an ex-partner and escalated to include attacks on feminist or inclusive voices in game design, journalism, and academia—and its lingering, inescapable, aftermath. Ruffino notes that “these stories about the medium only hide the complexi- ties of the problems they seek to resolve and are reassuring precisely because they do not change anything” (p. 6). Ruffino offers his approach to creative game stud- ies as an antidote to the repetitiveness of some of the narratives of the game industry perpetuated in games academia, and as such the volume acts not so much as a history of its own but as a manifesto calling for renewed attention to the potential value of game studies as a field of inquiry.