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Against Flow: Video Games and the Flowing Subject

Against Flow: Video Games and the Flowing Subject

Current price: $40.00
Publication Date: April 13th, 2021
The MIT Press
Special Order - Subject to Availability


A critical discussion of the experience and theory of flow (as conceptualized by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi) in video games.

Flow--as conceptualized by the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi--describes an experience of "being in the zone," of intense absorption in an activity. It is a central concept in the study of video games, although often applied somewhat uncritically. In Against Flow, Braxton Soderman takes a step back and offers a critical assessment of flow's historical, theoretical, political, and ideological contexts in relation to video games. With close readings of games that implement and represent flow, Soderman not only evaluates the concept of flow in terms of video games but also presents a general critique of flow and its sibling, play.

About the Author

Braxton Soderman is Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies in the School of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine.