Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Halos and Avatars Available for Pre-Order

The book Halos and Avatars: Playing Video Games with God (Westminster John Knox Press), edited by Craig Detweiler of Pepperdine University, will be available for shipping in January, and pre-orders can be placed now through distributors like Amazon.com. The editor's introduction can be read here. The product description is as follows:

Craig Detweiler’s collection of up-to-the-minute essays on video games’ religious themes is for gamers, parents, pastors, media scholars, and theologians—virtually anyone who has dared to consider the ramifications of modern society’s obsession with video games. And there is a wealth of material to explore. From a feminist reading of the Left Behind video game to an examination of bioethics and theology in controversial games such as BioShock, this book takes on an exploding genre in popular culture. Detweiler’s well-researched work features interviews with the creators of some of today’s most popular games, who discuss their creative process and some of the deeper issues they seek to address. Essayists run the gamut from ESPN’s Matt Kitchen to Fuller Seminary’s Daniel Hodge.

Introduction: Halos and Avatars by Craig Detweiler

Section 1: Playing Games with God
1. From Tekken to Kill Bill: The Future of Narrative Storytelling? by Chris Hansen
2. Ultima IV: Stimulating the Religious Quest by Mark Hayse
3. The Play Is the Thing: Interactivity from Bible Fights to Passions of the Christ by Rachel Wagner
4. Islamogaming: The Transformation of Home Video Consoles (and Us) by Kutter Callaway

Section 2: Halos
6. Myst and Halo: A Conversation with Rand Miller and Marty O'Donnell by Lisa Swain
7. Madden Rules: Sports and the Future of Competitive Video Games by Matthew Kitchen
8. Poets, Posers, and Guitar Heroes: Virtual Art for a Virtual Age by Andrew McAlpine
9. BioShock to the System: Smart Choices in Video Games by Kevin Newgren

Section 3: Avatars
10. 'Til Disconnection Do We Part: The Initiation and Wedding Rite in Second Life by Jason Shim
11. Role Playing: Toward a Theology for Gamers by Dan White Hodge
12. Cybersociality: Connecting Fun to the Play of God by John W. Morehead

Conclusion: Born to Play by Craig Detweiler

Appendix: Beyond "Turn that Thing Off!" Elevating the Gaming Conversation between Parents & Kids by Kara Powell and Brad M. Griffin

"Detweiler and company add gaming to the growing field of religion and media studies. This groundbreakingbook includes spirituality, ethics, and theology in an analytic toolkit designed for parents and players as well as scholars and seekers.”
—Diane Winston, Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the USC Annenberg School for Communication

“Every parent, every gamer, every pastor needs to get Craig Detweiler’s superb collection of essays ASAP. Your ability to connect to a digital culture depends on it.”
—Leonard Sweet, Professor of Evangelism at Drew Theological School in Madison, New Jersey; and Visiting Distinguished Professor at George Fox University in Portland, Oregon

“Detweiler moves beyond the tired debate of whether video games are good or evil, probing a deeper, more interesting question: Where is God in the world of games?”
—David Thomas, author of “Video Game Reviews,” distributed by King Features Syndicate. He teaches critical video game theory at the University of Colorado, Denver

“As humanity becomes increasingly enmeshed with the interactive and the digital, we will need our spirit guides. Read this book to develop a balanced and informed sense of the way that the Spirit and the Game are starting to interact.”
—Edward Castronova, Associate Professor and Director of the Synthetic Worlds Initiative at Indiana University, and cofounder of www.terranova.blogs.com

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