Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas by Natasha Dow Schüll

Addiction by Design bookAddiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas by Natasha Dow Schüll
Published: May 2014

ISBN-10: 0691160880

ISBN-13: 978-0691160887

Publisher: Princeton University Press

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Book Summary

Schüll’s book explores addiction from a new and different perspective: its design and structure. She presents an extensive research on compulsive gamblers and the relationship they have with the machines. She also devotes a great part of the book to explain how these machines were created to “improve” the experience of the gambler, giving addicts the kind of experience they were exactly looking for and also the kind of experience that will keep them hooked for more. The role played by technology and design in the shaping of the addicted experience is a fundamental issue in Schüll’s book. The desire for winning is left behind and the “machine zone” emerges as the real objective of compulsive and addicted gamblers. This “machine zone” refers to the state of blurry connection established between the player and the machine. The book offers a trip from game conventions and slot industry to the more personal living room of the addict. Reading this book will give the opportunity to understand if addiction to gambling stems from the gambler, the machine, the industry or a combination of elements.

Table of Contents

  1. Acknowledgments
  2. Note on informant anonymity
  3. Part One: Design
    1. Interior Design for Interior States: Architecture, Ambiance, and Affect.
    2. Engineering Experience: The Productive Economy of Player Centric Design
    3. Programming chance: the calculation of enchantment
  4. Part Two: Feedback
    1. Matching the Market: Innovation, Intensification, Habituation.
    2. Live Data: Tracking players, Guiding play.
    3. Perfect Contingency : from Control to Compulsion
  5. Part Three: addiction
    1. Gambled away: Liquidating life
    2. Overdrive: Chasing loss, playing to extinction
  6. Part Four: adjustment
    1. Balancing Acts: The double binds of Therapeutics
    2. Fix upon fix: Recipes for Regulating risk
  7. Conclusion: raising the stakes
  8. Notes
  9. References
  10. Index

About the Author Natasha Dow Schüll

Natasha Dow Schüll is a cultural anthropologist and associate professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University since 2015. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from UC Berkeley’s Department of Anthropology in 1993 and returned to receive her PhD in 2003. She then held several postdoctoral positions at Columbia University’s Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy and at NYU’s International Center for Advanced Studies. In 2007 she joined MIT’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society, she later moved to New York University.

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