Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Publication Title

Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture






1-4 pp.


The singular—maybe more aptly put as the pre-eminent—image that occurs when reading Gaming Matters is that of duelling dualisms. While this is a tried-and-true method of covering a topic, from the dissoi logoi to “The Owl and the Nightingale” and beyond, it is the site and the subject of these apposites that makes for an intriguing if (intentionally) unsettling read. The very title of the book makes the exercise of reading (and likely of writing) a part of and apart from this process. Gaming Matters stands as both call and catalogue. Gaming matters, most certainly, in terms of its audience, its purchase, and the purchasing power of its audience. What are the matters, though, for which gaming matters to scholars? Better yet, does gaming matter beyond its presumed role as a source of mindless escapism? While acknowledging the ambivalences of games and their study, the authors leave it to others to infer that similar sentiments regarding the instrumental rationality of cinema, television and even literature might have been overcome by previous generations of academics. The subtitle then interjects a frothy admixture of art, science, magic and the computer game medium. Attempting to combine these, then, is either quintessential or questionable given the popularity of computer games and the equally popular practice of dismissing them as irrelevant at best and as a sign of complete cultural collapse at worst.

Original Publication Citation

Ouellette, M. (2012). [Review of Gaming matters: Art, science magic and the computer game medium by J. E. Ruggill & K. S. McAllister]. Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, 12(2).