Special thanks to Sarah Walter and Kevin Hartman—Stanford students who provided helpful and tactful commentary and ideas, endless digitized game examples, and much needed perspective. Thanks to Patrick Doyle, who co-taught the first version of the Stanford class with me, and who has been an invaluable discussion partner and a true friend. Galen Davis was a wonderful Teaching Assistant, and added depth to the book, in particular with his insightful analysis of Max Payne.
Thanks also to the Stanford and Rensselaer undergraduate students who served as interns and assistants on the project—collecting game examples and providing valuable feedback and refinement to the ideas in the book: Arturo Caballero, Daniel Condaxis, Paul Echevarria, Tim Gregorio, Marina Kassianidou, Chris Mortonson, Andrew Parker, Gautham Raghavan, Kirk Shimano, Michelle Walker, and Jerry Yu.
Nina Neulight and Kelli Millwood of UCLA provided some helpful contributions to the chapter on Gender, Michael Sharp read over some of the later drafts and offered helpful comments, and Marc Destefano helped me with some last-minute game example capture, and kept my sense of humor intact during the tail end of the process. Jay McGlothlin provided helpful technical support for video capture, and Ken Bowen and Mirjana Risek helped get the website up and running.
Thanks to those who reviewed the book and its ideas in various stages: Elizabeth Churchill, Eric DeSantis, Jason Harlow, Carol Hobson, Adriene Jenik, Anthony Jules, Jesper Juul, G. Christopher Klug, Robin N. Koman, Henry Lowood, Celia Pearce, Pauline Pedersen, Stefan Scandizzo, Tim Schafer, Jesse Schell, Nicole Shechtman, Robb Thomas, Bill Tomlinson, and other anonymous reviewers. Thanks to Tim Cox at Morgan Kaufmann for his endless patience and support.
Thanks to my family and friends for helping me keep going on this project—especially Tony, whose impromptu, after-hours side research sparked some of the most interesting bits of the book. Finally, thanks to my husband for his patience and good cheer—especially miraculous and appreciated given that his idea of an engaging videogame is chess on his Palm Pilot.