Apperley (2010)

This quote in the Introduction of the book puts your and his problem well:

This book is about digital games, the people who play digital games, and how they play them. This poses a large problem: even when discussing one game, each instance of play is different. Combine this with the thousands of digital games, and the millions of players, and it is apparent that the number of individual instances of game play is unfathomably large. What these instantiations do have in common is that they are enacted locally.

This is yet another plea to think anthropologically, keep asking the question: what is going on here? At the same time keep careful note of the questions that others are asking. There is a complex set of agendas that intersect with the use of games for educational purposes.

The distinction that is made about games for education makes an interesting distinction about learning, i.e. that what is learned in less than serious games is somehow unimportant, frivolous.

It is so important to do two things. To jump into games, try them out etc. To read the various agendas and then to keep that distance, to keep asking the annoying question: what is going on? why are these questions being asked and not others? why are these questions being asked?

Tom deploys a useful notion of blockages1. Another of his useful ideas is that of rhythm. What do you make of the idea?

Take your time and look at each of his major chapter headings. There are a lot of useful framings of his approach to thinking about games and gaming in digital culture.

Chapter One - Digital Game Ecologies
Chapter Two - Bodies, Computers and Other Aggregations
Chapter Three - Situated Ecologies
Chapter Four - The Social Milieu
Chapter Five - Local Rhythms, Global Rhythms
Chapter Six - Segues: Play Rhythms/Work Rhythms
Chapter Seven - Blockages: Censorship. Piracy, and Participatory Culture
Chapter Eight - Counterplay and Algorithmic Culture

There is enough in the book to keep us occupied for more than a trimester. You need to skim, mine and take what you need from it but at the same time be sure you have the key parts of his argument.