Brendan Keogh

Brendan Keogh is a senior lecturer in the School of Communication and a chief investigator of the Digital Media Research Centre at the Queensland University of Technology. His books include of A Play of Bodies: How We Perceive Videogames and, as coauthor, The Unity Game Engine and The Circuits of Cultural Software.

  • The Videogame Industry Does Not Exist

    Why We Should Think Beyond Commercial Game Production

    Brendan Keogh

    The precarious reality of videogame production beyond the corporate blockbuster studios of North America.

    The videogame industry, we're invariably told, is a multibillion-dollar, high-tech business conducted by large corporations in certain North American, European, and East Asian cities. But most videogames today, in fact, are made by small clusters of people working on shoestring budgets, relying on existing, freely available software platforms, and hoping, often in vain, to rise to stardom—in short, people working like artists. Aiming squarely at this disconnect between perception and reality, The Videogame Industry Does Not Exist presents a much more accurate and nuanced picture of how the vast majority of videogame-makers work—a picture that reveals the diverse and precarious communities, identities, and approaches that make videogame production a significant cultural practice.

    Drawing on insights provided by over 400 game developers across Australia, North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia, Brendan Keogh develops a new framework for understanding videogame production as a cultural field in all its complexity. Part-time hobbyists, aspirational students, client-facing contractors, struggling independents, artist collectives, and tightly knit local scenes—all have a place within this model. But proponents of non-commercial game making don't exist in isolation; Keogh shows how they and their commercial counterparts are deeply interconnected and codependent in the field of videogame production.

    A cultural intervention, The Videogame Industry Does Not Exist challenges core assumptions about videogame production—ideas about creativity, professionalism, labor, diversity, education, globalization, and community. Its in-depth, complex portrayal suggests new ways of seeing, and engaging in, the videogame industry that really does exist.

    • Paperback $40.00
  • A Play of Bodies

    A Play of Bodies

    How We Perceive Videogames

    Brendan Keogh

    An investigation of the embodied engagement between the playing body and the videogame: how player and game incorporate each other.

    Our bodies engage with videogames in complex and fascinating ways. Through an entanglement of eyes-on-screens, ears-at-speakers, and muscles-against-interfaces, we experience games with our senses. But, as Brendan Keogh argues in A Play of Bodies, this corporal engagement goes both ways; as we touch the videogame, it touches back, augmenting the very senses with which we perceive. Keogh investigates this merging of actual and virtual bodies and worlds, asking how our embodied sense of perception constitutes, and becomes constituted by, the phenomenon of videogame play. In short, how do we perceive videogames?

    Keogh works toward formulating a phenomenology of videogame experience, focusing on what happens in the embodied engagement between the playing body and the videogame, and anchoring his analysis in an eclectic series of games that range from mainstream to niche titles. Considering smartphone videogames, he proposes a notion of co-attentiveness to understand how players can feel present in a virtual world without forgetting that they are touching a screen in the actual world. He discusses the somatic basis of videogame play, whether games involve vigorous physical movement or quietly sitting on a couch with a controller; the sometimes overlooked visual and audible pleasures of videogame experience; and modes of temporality represented by character death, failure, and repetition. Finally, he considers two metaphorical characters: the “hacker,” representing the hegemonic, masculine gamers concerned with control and configuration; and the “cyborg,” less concerned with control than with embodiment and incorporation.

    • Hardcover $35.00


  • Uneven Futures

    Uneven Futures

    Strategies for Community Survival from Speculative Fiction

    Ida Yoshinaga, Sean Guynes, and Gerry Canavan

    Essays on speculative/science fiction explore the futures that feed our most cherished fantasies and terrifying nightmares, while helping diverse communities devise new survival strategies for a tough millennium.

    The explosion in speculative/science fiction (SF) across different media from the late twentieth century to the present has compelled those in the field of SF studies to rethink the community's identity, orientation, and stakes. In this edited collection, more than forty writers, critics, game designers, scholars, and activists explore core SF texts, with an eye toward a future in which corporations dominate both the means of production and the means of distribution and governments rely on powerful surveillance and carceral technologies.

    The essays, international in scope, demonstrate the diversity of SF through a balance of popular mass-market novels, comics, films, games, TV shows, creepypastas, and more niche works. SF works explored range from Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi, 2084: The End of the World by Boualem Sansal, Terra Nullius by Claire Coleman, Watchmen and X-Men comics, and the Marvel film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, to the MaddAddam trilogy by Margaret Atwood, The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin, The Wandering Earth by Liu Cixin, and the Wormwood trilogy by Tade Thompson. In an era in which ecological disaster and global pandemics regularly expose and intensify deep political-economic inequalities, what futures has SF anticipated? What survival strategies has it provided us? Can it help us to deal with, and grow beyond, the inequalities and injustices of our times?

    Unlike other books of speculative/science fiction criticism, Uneven Futures uses a think piece format to make its critical insights engaging to a wide audience. The essays inspire visions of better possible futures—drawing on feminist, queer, and global speculative engagements with Indigenous, Latinx, and Afro- and African futurisms—while imparting important lessons for political organizing in the present.

    Contributors: Ben Abraham, Emmet Asher-Perrin, Brent Ryan Bellamy, Gerry Canavan, Andrew Ferguson, Fabio Fernandes, Dexter Gabriel, M. Elizabeth Ginway, Sean Guynes, Ouissal Harize, David M. Higgins, Veronica Hollinger, Allanah Hunt, Nicola Hunte, Nathaniel Isaacson, Ayana Jamieson, Darshana Jayemanne, Gwyneth Jones, Brendan Keogh, Sami Ahmad Khan, Cameron Kunzelman, Bryan Kamaoli Kuwada, Isiah Lavender III, Caryn Lesuma, Karen Lord, Sarah Marrs, Farah Mendlesohn, Cathryn Merla-Watson, Hugh Charles O'Connell, B. Pladek, John Rieder, Lysa Rivera, Kim Stanley Robinson, Steven Shaviro, Rebekah Sheldon, Alison Sperling, Alfredo Suppia, Bogi Takács, Taryne Jade Taylor, Sherryl Vint, Kirin Wachter-Grene, Ida Yoshinaga.

    • Paperback $30.00