Jesper Juul: half-realvideo games between real rules and fictional worlds.

 

Front page

About Half Real

Dictionary of Video Game Theory

Examples

MIT Press catalog page

Jesper Juul homepage


 

 

 

 

The Half-Real of the title refers to the fact that video games are two rather different things at the same time: video games are real in that they are made of real rules that players actually interact with; that winning or losing a game is a real event. However, when winning a game by slaying a dragon, the dragon is not a real dragon, but a fictional one. To play a video game is therefore to interact with real rules while imagining a fictional world and a video game is a set of rules as well a fictional world.

(Half-Real introduction.)

 

Welcome to the companion website for my new book, Half-Real. You can find the official description of the book here.

Half-Real is an attempt at creating a basic theory of video games: In the book I discuss what video games are and how they relate to non-digital games, how players learn to use a game, how players imagine the world of a game, and why video games are fun.

Half-real is a book on video game theory, but it is generally readable. As for method, the book is an eclectic mix of theories on games, film and literary theory, computer science, and psychology. The book is based on numerous game examples, with more than 100 screenshots from the past 40 years of video games.

-Jesper Juul

In the news

 

About the book

"Half-Real tackles key issues in games, from rules and structure to aesthetics and fiction to the complexities of player experience. Juul puts these topics in the context of current intellectual debates, making the book not just a playful exploration of games themselves but a celebration of the emerging fields of game studies and game design theory. Half-Real is essential reading for scholars, designers, and everyone in between."
--Eric Zimmerman, Cofounder & CEO, gameLab


"Jesper Juul gives us an insightful analysis of the interplay of rules and fiction. Unlike so much of the academic literature on gaming, it's both concise and readable. Strongly recommended."
--Ernest W. Adams, freelance game designer

 

Half-real cover
    Published by MIT Press.

 

On this website