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Videogames now rival Hollywood cinema in popularity and profits and there are huge followings for titles such as Tomb Raider or The Sims. Exactly what games offer, however, as a distinct form of entertainment, has received scant attention. This book is a valuable contribution to this new field. Its main focus is on key formal aspects of games and the experiences and pleasures offered by the activities they require of the player. A wide range of games are considered, from first-person shooters to third-person action-adventures, strategy, sports-related and role-playing games. Issues examined in detail include the characteristics of gameplay and its relationship with narrative, genre, virtual landscapes, realism, spectacle and sensation. Lively and accessible in style, this book is written for both an academic readership and the wider audience of gamers and those interested in popular culture.