In the past few decades, video games have developed from a marginal technological experiment into a mainstream medium. During this period they have gone through several transformations, from arcade machines offering a few minutes of solitary fun for a quarter to monthly subscription-based online MMOs in which thousands of players spend hundreds or even thousands of hours and lead a significant part of their social life as a fantasy character. But what is it that has driven video games'' development? Is it technology? Indeed, with every new generation of hardware, game designers were given a broader set of tools for evoking exhilarating experiences. But is not culture at least as important? What would games look like if Tolkien never had written Lord of the Rings, or if Nintendo had not brought Japanese manga drawing styles to the new medium? This book looks at the theoretical challenges and foundations on which to base a cultural shaping approach towards the evolution of video games and proposes a set of concepts for analyzing and describing this process.