ADVANCE PRAISE FOR COMPUTERS AS THEATRE, SECOND EDITION
The future of our interactions with technology will build upon the foundations provided by Brenda Laurel in this deep, thought-provoking, and critically important book.
— Don Norman, Nielsen Norman Group, author of Design of Everyday Things, Revised and Expanded Edition
Brenda Laurel's Computer as Theatre was one of the few truly transformative books to emerge in the heady early days of the "digital revolution," demanding that we think of the computer as posing a series of creative problems that might best be address through the lens of the dramatic arts rather than purely technical problems that remain in the domain of the computer scientists. In this new edition, she revisits that classic text in light of her rich and diverse experiences as a designer, educator, and entrepreneur. The resulting work looks backwards, at how far we have come towards transforming the computer into a new expressive medium and looks forwards to the technical and cultural problems we still need to resolve if we are going to produce a diverse and sustainable digital culture in the years ahead.
-- Henry Jenkins, author of Spreadable Media: Creating Meaning and Value in a Networked Culture
An extremely timely update of a secret classic. Brenda Laurel will teach you a powerful and extremely refreshing way to look anew at things digital and the creation thereof. If you read the original, hit it again; it makes even better sense in the 21st Century!
— William Gibson, author of Distrust That Particular Flavor and Zero History
The unpacking of the user interface and player interaction—examining mental models, theatrical models, literature, history, art, and science—is really the only way to make sense of a 21st century life. Laurel contextualizes interactivity and play along with the thinking that made computers what they are today. This book is absolutely required reading for anyone interested in computers and their influence on culture. Thank you Dr. Laurel for a wild ride!
—Mary Flanagan, inventor, designer and author of Critical Play
User interface designers and anyone who creates software for humans to use need new ways to think about how humans interact with digital media—the desktop metaphor is forty years old. Brenda Laurel gives us the benefit of both foresight (the first edition of Computers as Theatre was written in 1990) and hindsight. After a career as a computer researcher, entrepreneur, and educator, Laurel has revisited, revised, and rescoped her original vision). Then and now, Laurel takes a startlingly original approach that seems obvious once she explains it—interactive software and human beings as actors, not objects. Simply reading the table of contents opens a new view of different ways to think about human computer interaction. Now that humans interact with digital devices in so many ways and places other than the desktop, Brenda Laurel's theatrical lens becomes more useful every day. Read this—it's both scholarly and fun and runs your own internal models of human-computer interaction through a series of gymnastics that will loosen and broaden your thinking about UI issues forever.
—Howard Rheingold, author of The Virtual Community, Smart Mobs, and Net Smart
The Second Edition of the 1991 classic yet perennial Computers as Theatre is long overdue, and Laurel’s thoughtful revisiting of her influential ideas from over two decades ago does not disappoint. The book bridges the intellectual heritage of our distant past (Aristotle), our recent past (Engelbart, Kay, Bushnell), and our present state of affairs concerning computers, illustrated by colorful anecdotal parables from Laurel and others. In the process, Computers as Theatre artfully (and entertainingly) blends theory, practical methods for thinking about interaction and game design, and historical context in a way that will continue to be of benefit practitioners, scholars and students of digital media.
—Celia Pearce, Associate Professor of Digital Media, Georgia Tech, Author of Communities of Play: Emergent Cultres in Multiplayer Games and Virtual Worlds
The arts have the power to grab hold of us, shape our attention and action, and make us feel like an experience is complete and meaningful. Computers as Theatre, Second Edition is the essential guide to integrating that power into the design of new technologies.
—Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Chair, Digital Arts and New Media, UC Santa Cruz, author of Expressive Processing