Playing to Win

Playing to Win

Sports, Video Games, and the Culture of Play
Edited by Robert Alan Brookey and Thomas Patrick Oates
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 01/12/2015
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-01502-0
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In this era of big media franchises, sports branding has crossed platforms, so that the sport, its television broadcast, and its replication in an electronic game are packaged and promoted as part of the same fan experience. Editors Robert Alan Brookey and Thomas P. Oates trace this development back to the unexpected success of Atari's Pong in the 1970s, which provoked a flood of sport simulation games that have had an impact on every sector of the electronic game market. From golf to football, basketball to step aerobics, electronic sports games are as familiar in the American household as the televised sporting events they simulate. This book explores the points of convergence at which gaming and sports culture merge.

Author Bio

Robert Alan Brookey is Professor of Telecommunications at Ball State University where he also serves as the Director of Graduate Studies for the MA program in Digital Storytelling. He is the author of Hollywood Gamers: Digital Convergence in the Film and Video Game Industries (IUP, 2010).

Thomas P. Oates is Assistant Professor of American Studies and Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa.


“Beginning with the unexpected success of Atari's Pong in the 1970s, this book explores the points of convergence at which gaming and sports culture merge.”

“A timely volume, with a stellar array of authors.”
 — Toby Miller, author of Blow Up the Humanities

“Essays complement one another and, taken together, provide a comprehensive overview of important considerations in a field that is only beginning to be researched in depth. . . . Recommended.”
 — Choice

“Numerous avenues of inquiry worthy of closer investigation are offered in this book. As such, this work is a useful contribution to this burgeoning field of study.”
 — Library Journal

“In taking on a number of dfferent kinds of topics, Brookey and Oates have assembled a collection that encourages the reader to think beyond any singular way of examining sports games.”
 — American Journal of Play

“[W]hat is particularly unique about Playing to Win: Sports, Video Games, and the Culture of Play . . . is that it offers a critical assessment of sports video games at a time when such an assessment is necessary, given the convergence of gaming and sports culture.”
 — International Journal of Sport Communication

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Table of Contents

Playing to Win: An introduction. / Thomas P. Oates and Robert Alan Brookey
Part I: Gender Play
1. The Name of the Game is Jocktronics: Sport and Masculinity in Early Video Games / Michael Z. Newman
2. Madden Men: Masculinity, Race, and the Marketing of a Video Game Franchise / Thomas P. Oates
3. Neoliberal Masculinity: The Government of Play and Masculinity in E-Sports / Gerald Voorhees
4. The Social and Gender in Fantasy Sports Leagues / Luke Howie and Perri Campbell
5. Domesticating Sports: The Wii, the Mii and Nintendo’s Postfeminist Subject / Rene Powers and Robert Alan Brookey
Part II. The Uses of Simulation
6. Avastars: The Encoding of Fame within Sport Digital Games / Steven Conway
7. Keeping it Real: Sports Video Game Advertising and the Fan-Consumer / Cory Hillman and Michael Butterworth
8. Exploiting Nationalism and Banal Cosmopolitanism: EA’s FIFA World Cup 2010 / Andrew Baerg
9. Ideology, It’s In The Game: Selective Simulation in EA Sports’ NCAA Football / Meredith M. Bagley and Ian Summers
10. Yes Wii Can or Can Wii: Theorizing the Possibilities of Video Games as Health Disparity Intervention / David J. Leonard, Sarah Ullrich-French, and Thomas G. Power

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