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Jaime Banks is assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies at West Virginia University, research associate at WVU's Interaction Lab, and currently serves as the founding Chair of the Game Studies Division of the National Communication Association. She has authored book chapters and journal articles in such publications as New Media & Society, International Journal of Technology and Human Interaction, and Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds. Robert Mejia is assistant professor at the North Dakota State University and is a founding member of the National Communication Association's Game Studies Division. He is the author of multiple journal articles and book chapters on the political, economic, and cultural significance of the video game industry. Aubrie Adams is a doctoral student in the Department of Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The editors (academics in the communications field) present 100 different characters from popular video-game culture, from human to animal to alien to inanimate objects (yes, the Ball from Pong is here!) and all manner in between. Readers will come across favorites, such as Pikachu (from Pokemon), Sonic the Hedgehog, and Lara Croft (from Tomb Raider), and meet ones new to them. The one- to two-page entries are arranged alphabetically and consist of narrative essays detailing the character's game, backstory, and more. The see also references for each character note similar characters that may or may not also appear here.... [T]his is an interesting and unique study of the video-game industry that will appeal to gamers and researchers alike. * Booklist * As video games continue to be legitimized as an academic field, one expects academic publishers to release more monographs like this one. The trio of editors have compiled 100 thoughtful, critical entries on the most culturally significant video-game characters, chosen and written about by game researchers and developers from all over the world. Supplementing basic information about each character, entries include a description of the role of the character within the game and explain why they are culturally significant. Many authors take a critical perspective, touching on social issues. Entries conclude with a short set of cross-references to other characters in the book that are similar in some respect. An appendix, notes, bibliography, and index round out the treatment. The appendix is especially helpful as it organizes characters under categories such as date range of first appearance, genre of game, race, gender, etc.... [T]he work is an important acquisition for any library serving patrons interested in the academic study of video games. It works well as an reference work but would also be a useful source for students arguing the case for video games' cultural significance. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All student levels through researchers/faculty; general readers; professionals/practitioners. * CHOICE *