More than a game

The computer game as fictional form

By Barry Atkins

More than a game

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-6365-7
  • Pages: 176
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £12.99
  • Published Date: May 2003
  • BIC Category: Computing & information technology / Computer games / online games: strategy guides, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, LITERARY CRITICISM / American / General, LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / General, Computer games / online games: strategy guides, Literature: history & criticism, United States of America, USA, Film and Media


The first academic work dedicated to the study of computer games in terms of the stories they tell and the manner of their telling. Applies practices of reading texts from literary and cultural studies to consider the computer game as an emerging mode of contemporary storytelling in an accessible, readable manner. Contains detailed discussion of narrative and realism in four of the most significant games of the last decade: 'Tomb Raider', 'Half-Life', 'Close Combat' and 'Sim City'. Recognises the excitement and pleasure that has made the computer game such a massive global phenomenon.


1. The computer game as fictional form
i) The postmodern temptation
ii) Reading game-fictions
2. Fantastically real: reading Tomb Raider
i) Lara Crost: Action hero
ii) Tomb Raider as quest narrative
iii) Beating the system
3. Gritty realism: reading Half-Life
i) Welcome to Black Mesa
ii) I am a camera
4. Replaying history: reading Close Combat
i) History in real-time
ii) Counterfactual gameplay
5. Managing the real: reading SimCity
i) The many worlds of SimCity
ii) SimCity limits
6. More than a game?
i) Realism is dead, long live realism
ii) The shape of things to come
iii) The computer game as fictional form revisited
Glossary of specific game terms


Barry Atkins is Lecturer in English and Senior Learning and Teaching Fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University

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