Book of Essays Explores the Importance of ‘Player Control’ in Games

Flagler College (St. Augustine, Florida) assistant professor of communication Matthew Wysocki helped make a new book about control in video games a reality. Besides co-authoring a chapter on the subject and writing the introduction in "Ctrl-Alt-Play: Essays on Control in Video Gaming," Wysocki edited the 16 essays that make of the body of the work. More importantly the book was basically his idea. The book came about because he saw that many of his colleagues were working on similar projects concerning video game control. After organizing a conference panel on the subject, Wysocki suggested that his colleagues write an essay to be part of a book on the topic.

"We put out a call for other people who felt they were doing similar work," he said. "After the panel, we realized a number of people were doing research that overlapped with the concept of control and what it meant for video games."

The book received almost 50 submissions, with 16 essays selected, all of which were edited by Wysocki . The essays tackle how control is very important in games such as Grand Theft Auto IV, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and Dragon Age: Origins and how each uses elements of control in their structures. The book points out that without player control there is no experience and explores the industry's focus on questions of control and ways to "improve play to make the gamer feel more connected to the virtual world."

"Control is such a central issue with games," he said. "They are the media that require interactivity on a level that no other mass media does."

You can purchase the book, which was released on February 15, online at for $35. You can also find it on Amazon with a Kindle version available for $9.

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