Well Played 3.0
Further Perspectives on Video Games, Value and Meaning
Well Played 3.0 is another great book of in-depth close readings of video games that parse out the various meanings to be found in the experience of playing a game. As before, contributors have analyzed sequences in games in detail in order to illustrate and interpret how the various components of a game can come together to create a fulfilling playing experience unique to this medium. Across the three books, contributors have provided a variety of insightful perspectives on the value of games.
For those who have yet to see the two previous books, the term “well played” is being used in two senses. On the one hand, well played is to games as well read is to books. So, a person who reads books a lot is “well read” and a person who plays games a lot is “well played.” On the other hand, well played as in well done. So, a hand of poker can be “well played” by a person, and a game can be “well played” by the development team.
Contributors are looking at video games through both senses of “well played.” So, with well played as in well read, contributors are looking closely at the experience of playing a game. And with well played as in well done, contributors are looking at a game in terms of how well it is designed and developed.
And this book is completely full of spoilers on all the games discussed, so consider this your fair warning. While it’s not necessary, all the contributors encourage you to play the games before you read about them.
Well Played 3.0 is going to be the last book. We’re now going to follow these three books with a regular on-going Well Played journal series open to anyone who is interested in submitting an essay analyzing a game. We’re also going to host Well Played tracks with live play and analysis of games at the Games, Learning and Society Conference and at IndieCade as well.
The goal of all of the books, and the following series and conference tracks, is to help create a forum for discussion that further develops and defines a literacy of games as well as a sense of their value as an experience. Also, the books have focused specifically on close readings, having an on-going journal and conference tracks can also enable us to consider distant readings (a la Franco Moretti) of games and how they’ve evolved across time. Video games are a complex medium that merits careful interpretation and insightful analysis. By having contributors to look closely (or distantly) at video games and the experience of playing them, we hope to show how many different games are well played in a variety of ways.