Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas


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Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas

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Natasha Schüll

For example, she relies primarily on the works of Bill Friedman to draw out the principles of casino design. Yet Friedman represents only one school of thought that is currently heavily contested. Professionals tend to aggrandize their roles in this highly competitive industry. Though the stories of addicts who play themselves into bankruptcy and cardiac arrests might seem a case in the extreme, Addiction by Design provides sobering insights into the machine-mediated world that we all inhabit.

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In continuous machine play, gamblers seek to lose themselves while the gambling industry seeks profit. Schull describes the strategic calculations behind game algorithms and machine ergonomics, casino architecture and "ambience management," player tracking and cash access systems--all designed to meet the market's desire for maximum "time on device.


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Addiction by Design is a compelling inquiry into the intensifying traffic between people and machines of chance, offering clues to some of the broader anxieties and predicaments of contemporary life. At stake in Schull's account of the intensifying traffic between people and machines of chance is a blurring of the line between design and experience, profit and loss, control and compulsion. Ms Schull has spent two decades studying the boom in casino gambling: the layout of its properties, the addicts and problem gamblers who account for roughly half its revenue in some places, and the engineering that goes into its most sophisticated products.

A richly detailed account of the particulars of video gaming addiction, worth reading for the excellence of the ethnographic narrative alone, it is also an empirically rigorous examination of users, designers, and objects that deepens practical and philosophical questions about the capacities of players interacting with machines designed to entrance them.

Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas

Applying an anthropological perspective, the author focuses especially on the Las Vegas gambling industry, seeing many of today's avid machine gamblers as less preoccupied with winning than with maintaining themselves in the game, playing for as long as possible, and entering into a trance-like state of being, totally enmeshed psychologically into gaming and totally removed from the ordinary obligations of everyday life The book offers a most compelling and vivid picture of this world.

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Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas
Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas
Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas
Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas
Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas
Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas
Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas
Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas
Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas

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