My latest book, How To Do Things With Videogames is now shipping from in the US. For those of you in Europe, it’ll be a little while longer. And before you ask, a Kindle edition has been created and should show up Amazon any day now.

The book is a little different from my others. It offers a tiny media theory about games, in two bookend chapters, which boils down to this: we can call a medium mature based on the variety of uses to which it is put, and videogames now qualify. But along with that maturity comes a loss of wildness, a domestication.

In between those two chapters are twenty short essays that offer examples of that diversity. These include totally new material and revisions of examples I’ve discussed before.

Below you’ll find some kind words from two early reviewers, followed by the table of contents. You can read more at the book’s University of Minnesota Press webpage.

What can you do with videogames? Play pranks, meditate on politics, achieve zen-like zone-outs, turn the act of travel back into adventure, and describe how to safely exit a plane—among other things, as Ian Bogost explains in this superb, philosophical, and wide-ranging book on the expressive qualities of games.

—Clive Thompson, columnist for Wired and contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine

Gamers often beg for a critic with the persuasive power and range of a Lester Bangs or a Pauline Kael. With this book, Ian Bogost demonstrates his capacity to take up their mantle and explain to a larger public why games matter in modern culture. The book’s goals are simple, straight forward, and utterly, desperately needed. How to Do Things with Videogames may do for games what Understanding Comics did for comics—at once consolidate existing theoretical gains while also expanding dramatically the range of people who felt able to meaningfully engage in those discussions.

—Henry Jenkins, author of Fans, Gamers, and Bloggers: Understanding Participatory Culture

Introduction: Media Microecology

1. Art

2. Empathy

3. Reverence

4. Music

5. Pranks

6. Transit

7. Branding

8. Electioneering

9. Promotion

10. Snapshots

11. Texture

12. Kitsch

13. Relaxation

14. Throwaways

15. Titillation

16. Exercise

17. Work

18. Habituation

19. Disinterest

20. Drill

Conclusion: The End of Gamers



published August 22, 2011


  1. m

    Kindle edition is out, fwiw (and a better deal for us, europeans). looking forward to reading the book, Ian, looks very interesting.

  2. Adam Weber

    I couldn’t agree more with your analysis on the use of video games in society. Today video games can be used for many ventures including physical therapy and military training. From what I have read NASA develops video games for training purposes as well. Today games are essential in our culture and with players being able to log onto the internet to play with others it allows individuals all over the world to socialize and team together. Video games in the classroom can teach people strategy, exercise, geography, history, and science. As a lover of history I can see how with video games a player can travel into time to battle the Romans, fight in the civil war, drive an old car, or fly an old plane. This medium can open boundaries up and allow students to see into the past or future. It also allows for teamwork, strategy, and in some cases research. This small piece was an excellent overview of your work, thank you for offering it up!