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The Game of Life Cover

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The Game of Life

College Sports and Educational Values

James L. Shulman

The President of Williams College faces a firestorm for not allowing the women's lacrosse team to postpone exams to attend the playoffs. The University of Michigan loses $2.8 million on athletics despite averaging 110,000 fans at each home football game. Schools across the country struggle with the tradeoffs involved with recruiting athletes and updating facilities for dozens of varsity sports. Does increasing intensification of college sports support or detract from higher education's core mission?

James Shulman and William Bowen introduce facts into a terrain overrun by emotions and enduring myths. Using the same database that informed The Shape of the River, the authors analyze data on 90,000 students who attended thirty selective colleges and universities in the 1950s, 1970s, and 1990s. Drawing also on historical research and new information on giving and spending, the authors demonstrate how athletics influence the class composition and campus ethos of selective schools, as well as the messages that these institutions send to prospective students, their parents, and society at large.

Shulman and Bowen show that athletic programs raise even more difficult questions of educational policy for small private colleges and highly selective universities than they do for big-time scholarship-granting schools. They discover that today's athletes, more so than their predecessors, enter college less academically well-prepared and with different goals and values than their classmates--differences that lead to different lives. They reveal that gender equity efforts have wrought large, sometimes unanticipated changes. And they show that the alumni appetite for winning teams is not--as schools often assume--insatiable. If a culprit emerges, it is the unquestioned spread of a changed athletic culture through the emulation of highly publicized teams by low-profile sports, of men's programs by women's, and of athletic powerhouses by small colleges.

Shulman and Bowen celebrate the benefits of collegiate sports, while identifying the subtle ways in which athletic intensification can pull even prestigious institutions from their missions. By examining how athletes and other graduates view The Game of Life--and how colleges shape society's view of what its rules should be--Bowen and Shulman go far beyond sports. They tell us about higher education today: the ways in which colleges set policies, reinforce or neglect their core mission, and send signals about what matters.

Game, Set, Match Cover

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Game, Set, Match

Billie Jean King and the Revolution in Women’s Sports

Susan Ware

While King did not single-handedly cause the revolution in women's sports, she quickly became one of its most enduring symbols, as did Title IX, a federal law that was initially passed in 1972 to attack sex discrimination in educational institutions but had its greatest impact by opening opportunities for women in sports. King's place in tennis history is secure, and now, with ###Game, Set, Match#, she can take her rightful place as a key player in the history of feminism as well. By linking the stories of King and Title IX, Ware explains why women's sports took off in the 1970s and demonstrates how giving women a sporting chance has permanently changed American life on and off the playing field.

Game Warden Cover

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Game Warden

On Patrol in Louisiana

Jerald Horst

This is a great book about a great subject …

Game Work Cover

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Game Work

Language, Power, and Computer Game Culture

Written by Ken S. McAllister

Video and computer games in their cultural contexts.

As the popularity of computer games has exploded over the past decade, both scholars and game industry professionals have recognized the necessity of treating games less as frivolous entertainment and more as artifacts of culture worthy of political, social, economic, rhetorical, and aesthetic analysis. Ken McAllister notes in his introduction to Game Work that, even though games are essentially impractical, they are nevertheless important mediating agents for the broad exercise of socio-political power.

In considering how the languages, images, gestures, and sounds of video games influence those who play them, McAllister highlights the ways in which ideology is coded into games. Computer games, he argues, have transformative effects on the consciousness of players, like poetry, fiction, journalism, and film, but the implications of these transformations are not always clear. Games can work to maintain the status quo or celebrate liberation or tolerate enslavement, and they can conjure feelings of hope or despair, assent or dissent, clarity or confusion. Overall, by making and managing meanings, computer games—and the work they involve and the industry they spring from—are also negotiating power.

This book sets out a method for "recollecting" some of the diverse and copious influences on computer games and the industry they have spawned. Specifically written for use in computer game theory classes, advanced media studies, and communications courses, Game Work will also be welcome by computer gamers and designers.

Ken S. McAllister is Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English at the University of Arizona and Co-Director of the Learning Games Initiative, a research collective that studies, teaches with, and builds computer games.

Gameplay Mode Cover

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Gameplay Mode

War, Simulation, and Technoculture

Patrick Crogan

From flight simulators and first-person shooters to MMPOG and innovative strategy games like 2008’s Spore, computer games owe their development to computer simulation and imaging produced by and for the military during the Cold War. To understand their place in contemporary culture, Patrick Crogan argues, we must first understand the military logics that created and continue to inform them. Gameplay Mode situates computer games and gaming within the contemporary technocultural moment, connecting them to developments in the conceptualization of pure war since the Second World War and the evolution of simulation as both a technological achievement and a sociopolitical tool.

Crogan begins by locating the origins of computer games in the development of cybernetic weapons systems in the 1940s, the U.S. Air Force’s attempt to use computer simulation to protect the country against nuclear attack, and the U.S. military’s development of the SIMNET simulated battlefield network in the late 1980s. He then examines specific game modes and genres in detail, from the creation of virtual space in fight simulation games and the co-option of narrative forms in gameplay to the continuities between online gaming sociality and real-world communities and the potential of experimental or artgame projects like September 12th: A Toy World and Painstation, to critique conventional computer games.

Drawing on critical theoretical perspectives on computer-based technoculture, Crogan reveals the profound extent to which today’s computer games—and the wider culture they increasingly influence—are informed by the technoscientific program they inherited from the military-industrial complex. But, Crogan concludes, games can play with, as well as play out, their underlying logic, offering the potential for computer gaming to anticipate a different, more peaceful and hopeful future.

The Games Black Girls Play Cover

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The Games Black Girls Play

Learning the Ropes from Double-Dutch to Hip-Hop

Kyra Gaunt

2007 Alan Merriam Prize presented by the Society for Ethnomusicology

2007 PEN/Beyond Margins Book Award Finalist

When we think of African American popular music, our first thought is probably not of double-dutch: girls bouncing between two twirling ropes, keeping time to the tick-tat under their toes. But this book argues that the games black girls play —handclapping songs, cheers, and double-dutch jump rope—both reflect and inspire the principles of black popular musicmaking.

The Games Black Girls Play illustrates how black musical styles are incorporated into the earliest games African American girls learn—how, in effect, these games contain the DNA of black music. Drawing on interviews, recordings of handclapping games and cheers, and her own observation and memories of gameplaying, Kyra D. Gaunt argues that black girls' games are connected to long traditions of African and African American musicmaking, and that they teach vital musical and social lessons that are carried into adulthood. In this celebration of playground poetry and childhood choreography, she uncovers the surprisingly rich contributions of girls’ play to black popular culture.

Games, Information, and Politics Cover

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Games, Information, and Politics

Applying Game Theoretic Models to Political Science

Scott Gates and Brian D. Humes

To study the strategic interaction of individuals, we can use game theory. Despite the long history shared by game theory and political science, many political scientists remain unaware of the exciting game theoretic techniques that have been developed over the years. As a result they use overly simple games to illustrate complex processes. Games, Information, and Politics is written for political scientists who have an interest in game theory but really do not understand how it can be used to improve our understanding of politics. To address this problem, Gates and Humes write for scholars who have little or no training in formal theory and demonstrate how game theoretic analysis can be applied to politics. They apply game theoretic models to three subfields of political science: American politics, comparative politics, and international relations. They demonstrate how game theory can be applied to each of these subfields by drawing from three distinct pieces of research. By drawing on examples from current research projects the authors use real research problems--not hypothetical questions--to develop their discussion of various techniques and to demonstrate how to apply game theoretic models to help answer important political questions. Emphasizing the process of applying game theory, Gates and Humes clear up some common misperceptions about game theory and show how it can be used to improve our understanding of politics. Games, Information, and Politics is written for scholars interested in understanding how game theory is used to model strategic interactions. It will appeal to sociologists and economists as well as political scientists. Scott Gates is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Michigan State University. Brian D. Humes is Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Games' Most Wanted Cover

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Games' Most Wanted

The Top 10 Book of Players, Pawns, and Power-Ups

Rome, Ben H.

Ever thought about capturing a queen, amassing real estate gold, or striking down a zombie or two? For centuries, games have stimulated the imagination. They have divided, and they have united. They have driven our competitive spirit and indulged our fancy. Live an entire lifetime in a few rolls of the dice. Push a few buttons and sustain perfect health. Essentially, games have and will continue to provide people worldwide a break from the everyday grind.

With more than forty chapters, Games' Most Wanted whisks readers away into the fantasyland of games. Learn more about board games that have been passed through generations, video games that predict the future, and card games that have brought down the house. Ben H. Rome and Chris Hussey also reveal the culture behind the entertainment-the codes of conduct, the language, the conventions, and the workshops-proving that leisure can be a lifestyle. Something they won't reveal: how to rescue the princess. Regardless of the hand you're dealt, Games' Most Wanted is sure to cure any boredom.

The Games of July Cover

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The Games of July

Explaining the Great War

Frank C. Zagare

Frank C. Zagare combines a deep command of historical scholarship and the sophisticated skills of an applied game theorist to develop and test a theory of why deterrence failed, catastrophically, in July 1914. . . . Zagare concludes with sage advice on how to avoid even more cataclysmic breakdowns in a nuclear world. ---Steven J. Brams, New York University "Zagare's deft study of the origins of the First World War using his perfect deterrence theory uncovers new insights into that signal event and shows the value of formal theory applied to historical events. A must-read for those interested in security studies." ---James D. Morrow, University of Michigan "Through an exemplary combination of formal theory, careful qualitative analysis, and lucid prose, The Games of July delivers important and interesting answers to key questions concerning the international political causes of World War I. Its well-formed narratives and its sustained engagement with leading works in IR and diplomatic history . . . make it a rewarding read for security scholars in general and a useful teaching tool for international security courses." ---Timothy W. Crawford, Boston College Taking advantage of recent advances in game theory and the latest historiography, Frank C. Zagare offers a new, provocative interpretation of the events that led to the outbreak of World War I. He analyzes key events from Bismarck's surprising decision in 1879 to enter into a strategic alliance with Austria-Hungary to the escalation that culminated in a full-scale global war. Zagare concludes that, while the war was most certainly unintended, it was in no sense accidental or inevitable. The Games of July serves not only as an analytical narrative but also as a work of theoretical assessment. Standard realist and liberal explanations of the Great War are evaluated along with a collection of game-theoretic models known as perfect deterrence theory. Frank C. Zagare is UB Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Cover illustration: Satirical Italian postcard from World War I. Used with permission from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries.

The Games Presidents Play Cover

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The Games Presidents Play

Sports and the Presidency

John Sayle Watterson

The Games Presidents Play provides a new way to view the American presidency. Looking at the athletic strengths, feats, and shortcomings of our presidents, John Sayle Watterson explores not only their health, physical attributes, personalities, and sports IQs, but also the increasing trend of Americans in the past century to equate sporting achievements with courage, manliness, and political competence. The author of College Football begins with George Washington, whose athleticism contributed to his success on the battlefield and may well have contributed to the birth of the republic. He moves seamlessly into the nineteenth century when, for presidents like Jackson, Lincoln, and Cleveland, frontier sports were part of their formative years. With the twentieth-century presidents—most notably the hyperactive and headline-grabbing Theodore Roosevelt—Watterson shows how the growth of mass media and the improved means of transportation transformed presidential sports into both a form of recreation and a means of establishing a positive self-image. Modern presidents have used sports with varying degrees of success. Herbert Hoover fled Washington on weekends to the trout pools of Camp Rapidan in the Blue Ridge to escape relentless pressures and public criticism during the Great Depression. Franklin Roosevelt demonstrated remarkable physical endurance in his campaign to restore his ravaged body from polio. An obsessive love affair with golf became an issue for Dwight Eisenhower in his campaign for reelection in 1956. Richard Nixon, a former third-string college football lineman, placed calls to Coach George Allen of the Washington Redskins, once suggesting a trick play in a big game. From the opening pitch of the baseball season to presenting awards to Olympic champions, our sports culture asks the president to play an increasingly active role. Sports, Watterson argues, open a window into the presidency, shedding new light on presidential behavior and offering new perspectives on the office and the sporting men—and women—who have and will occupy it.

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