New book: Playing Computer Games: Somatic Experience and Experience of the Somatic

Henrik Smed Nielsen
Digital Aesthetic Research Center, 2012, 278 pp.
DKK 150,- / EUR 20,-
ISBN 87-91810-21-3

Available here as paperback: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Playing-Computer-Games-Somatic-Experience/dp/8791810213/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347860511&sr=8-1

Download pdf here.

First written as a PhD dissertation in 2011, the book investigates the bodily dimension of the computer game experience – based on the overarching thesis that computer game-play is a bodily founded and bodily savoured activity. Apart from the ‘trivial’ fact that the player needs a body in order to grasp the controller, the player also senses his/her body working through the visceral ‘feel’ of the game. Assuming a phenomenological and somaesthetic perspective, the book addresses the bodily experience of playing computer games, theoretically and analytically covering the spectrum from ‘traditional’ controller-based computer game experiences to ones that require ‘full body’ gestures. Simultaneously being bodily engaged in the game and reflectively aware of this engagement (a somatic experience and an experience of the somatic) is suggested as the aesthetic form that computer games rely on, as well as play with.

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