Digital games were once considered the domain of a small, clearly defined demographic of young men. Today, however, they are a mainstream pastime for young and old, male and female. Why do we play digital games? What makes them deeply attractive and, for some, seriously addictive? How have games managed to occupy such a significant share of our leisure time? Do games affect us, and if so, how? Do they, as some suggest, positively influence spatial skills and, perhaps, intelligence? Or do they, as others fear, hinder our physical and emotional development? And if these effects occur, for whom do they occur? These key questions of game studies, a new research field concerned with the use, appeal, and effects of digital games, are addressed in this chapter.
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