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Videogames matter and they matter for world politics. The aim of this book is to demonstrate the way in which games contribute to the evolution of global politics and to show how global politics contributes to the development of games. Robinson seeks to achieve this in two ways. First, he offers a ‘macro-approach’ which explores the political economy of videogames, their role in the militarisation of society and politics, and their soft power role as a source of both cultural attraction and repulsion. Second he offers a ‘micro-approach’ which applies theory to the reading of key games so demonstrating both the politics within videogames but also the impact of politics on the very understanding which we have of the games we play.
This book makes a compelling case that videogames matter for politics and that politics matters for videogames. Given the global reach and value of the videogame industry this is highly important. More specifically, this book departs from the existing literature in two ways. First, it argues that in order to understand the implications of videogames for popular culture and world politics we need a clear sense of the importance of the way in which games resonate around the world. At present too many accounts of cultural globalisation and/or soft power overemphasise the centrality of North American-centric pressures (frequently termed ‘Hollywoodisation’). This study of games makes it clear that flows from East to West are potentially just as important as those from the West and that such flows are very different in character. Second, in terms of the literature on understanding the messages within games, the book contends that such literature plays insufficient account to the need for a clear understanding of the link between macro-level developments (e.g. militarisation, the political economy of games and cultural flow), and how those developments are mediated by the player within individual games.
Seeking to develop a new understanding of gaming and global politics, this work will be of great interest to students and scholars of international relations, military and security studies, videogame studies and popular culture.