Playing Nature Reviewed in Critical Inquiry

22 Jun, 2021

Playing Nature Reviewed in Critical Inquiry

BCNM alum Alenda Chang's book Playing Nature: Ecology in Video Games was recently reviewed in University of Chicago journal Critical Inquiry.

From the review:

Playing Nature is not simply a game studies book but rather a deeper treatise on environmental and media studies in which games in myriad forms figure as the primary sites of inquiry (despite the generalization in the book’s subtitle, its gameography is not limited to video games but also includes escape rooms, board games, and alternate-reality games). Chang reclaims the scientific principles inherent to the concept of ecology to formulate a definition of environmental games that is as capacious as it is exacting: an environmental game need not directly address ecological concerns but rather must exhibit ecological thinking in its activation of background scenery, its attention to scale, or its incorporation of nonhuman actors (to name but a few criteria). Her approach thus substitutes the didactic for the ontological, the straightforward for the processual. Playing Nature is thus a lesson in humanistic methodology in the face of climate change—how can we as gamers, game scholars, and media scholars broadly advocate for environmental consciousness while reckoning with the material conditions (from resource extraction to e-waste) and energy demands (from human labor to power consumption) of media objects?

Read the entire review here!