Games and brains

I have been reading Steven Johnson‘s book with the wonderful title Everything bad is good for you – How today’s popular culture is actually making us smarter (2005). He has a very interesting perspective on the reception of media such as computer games, looking at the formal structure of things instead of content and context. Although I find this focus on cognitive reception and brain chemistry to be unnecessarily limited in its understanding of the experience of media, he does make some good points. One is that today’s popular culture is much more complex and demanding than it has been before, and, related to this, that it makes no sense comparing e.g. a specific computer game to a classic literary masterpiece – computer games should be compared to other games, television shows to other television shows and so on. Or in general terms, that popular art forms should be judged on their own terms.

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