What Is Video Game Culture? Cultural Studies and Game Studies

ArticleinGames and Culture 5(4):403-424 · September 2010with 13,882 Reads
Abstract
What is video game culture, however? What does it mean to have a culture defined by the consumption of a particular medium? Moreover, what are the implications of defining this culture in a particular way? While there has been a great deal of ink split on video game culture, the actual definition of the term is often treated as common sense. Unpacking the discourses surrounding "video game culture" allows us to see the power dynamics involved in attributing certain characteristics to it, as well as naming it "video game culture" as such. This has implications for how video games are studied and is connected with how culture is studied more broadly. By critically examining how video game culture has been defined in both press and academic articles, this paper illuminates how this definition has limited the study of video games and where it can move.

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  • ... This does not, however, point to the existence of language barriers. Although there are different cultures within each group, members share a mutual game culture (Shaw, 2010), which brings along its own vocabulary (Poels, Ijsselsteijn & de Kort, 2015). Players are capable of communicating using a set of trigger words which renders their language very precise and enables them to efficiently establish a common goal (Leavitt, Keegan & Clark, 2016). ...
    ... This paper goes beyond national culture and understands culture as a description of behavior in a certain context. People tend to follow a certain type of cultural behavior depending on their environment and, therefore, in the context of video games, this cultural behavior can be referred to as game culture (Shaw, 2010). Furthermore, international virtual teams tend to follow a corporate culture, especially as they are still dominated by top-down planning. ...
    ... One aspect that is relevant for this example of cultural transduction is that pugging is already a form of international virtual teams, even though pugging does not take place to quite the same extent in the context of corporations. The freedom to participate and cooperate is strongly rooted in the gamer culture (Shaw, 2010), as well as in hacker culture (Scholz & Reichstein, 2015). For that reason, it is observable that the amount of people demanding the freedom to form temporary teams will increase as the impact of the gamer culture and hacker culture keeps growing. ...
    Article
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    Despite the recent surge in digitization, organizations still struggle with utilizing international virtual teams. Such teams still tend to follow the concept of top-down planning and are, therefore, controlled by some sort of headquarter. In the context of multiplayer games, however, we observe a more self-organized way of establishing teams, which is commonly referred to as pugging: Teams emerge, establish a shared goal, and disband afterwards. They follow the concept of bottom-up autonomy. Pugging is highly beneficial to the gaming world, which is why we will follow the cultural transduction framework to transfer this team concept from gaming to the corporate context. Since the corporate context and gaming are strongly intertwined and influence one another to a great extent, we will expand this framework with the concept of transtraction.
  • ... Autores reconhecem (ex.: Marchand & Hennig-Thurau, 2013;Shaw, 2010) que o público consumidor de videogames é cada vez mais amplo e diverso. Isso acontece porque o consumo de jogos, como uma forma de experiência lúdica, traz respostas motivacionais, sociais, emocionais e comportamentais para os indivíduos ( Granic et al., 2014;Holbrook et al., 1984). ...
    ... Por fim, pesquisas futuras podem explorar a cultura do jogador, que tem sido alterada especialmente com os avanços tecnológicos e com a facilidade de acesso à tecnologia (Shaw, 2010). Estudos podem investigar diferentes tipos de jogadores em diversos contextos de jogos, bem como compreender de que forma os jogos podem trazer benefícios para os jogadores de diferentes perfis. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Objetivo: O artigo explora como o uso do jogo Pokémon GO afeta a intenção de compra dos consumidores por meio de respostas originadas dessa experiência de consumo. Método: Foi utilizado método misto com a realização de duas pesquisas com consumidores do jogo Pokémon GO, uma qualitativa, usando entrevistas semiestruturadas com 15 consumidores, e uma quantitativa, por meio de survey com 377 consumidores. Originalidade/Relevância: A pesquisa se destaca ao explorar a experiência de consumo de jogos eletrônicos, especialmente em relação às respostas do jogo para o seu consumidor e sobre o impacto dessas respostas na intenção de compra dos jogadores, sobretudo externamente ao jogo. Resultados: Os resultados indicam que existem respostas da experiência de consumo do jogo, como nostalgia e identificação com o grupo. Há, ainda, a intenção de compra para casos hipotéticos em que empresas ou marcas se associem ao Pokémon GO, fornecendo benefícios aos jogadores. Esses resultados foram corroborados com relações significativas entre as respostas do uso do jogo e a intenção de compra. Contribuições teóricas/metodológicas: O artigo amplia discussões sobre experiências de consumo e efeitos do uso de jogos nos consumidores. Contribui, também, com a literatura sobre o jogo Pokémon GO na explicação de como essas experiências auxiliam na formatação da realidade dos consumidores. Contribuições sociais / para a gestão: O artigo possibilita compreender a relação do consumidor com o consumo do jogo, auxiliando praticantes na construção de estratégias que permitam trazer experiências de consumo valorosas para o consumidor e fomentar o desempenho das empresas.
  • ... Estas preconcepciones no solo se dan respecto al videojuego desde afuera sino también desde adentro de las comunidades y redes formadas por jugadores que incorporan el acto del juego a su identidad. Shaw, 2010; Shaw, 2011 ). las prácticas de localización y la exagerada sexualización de los personajes femeninos (Beasley y Standley, 2002; downs y Smith, 2009; Ivory, 2006perfil del jugador está estrechamente ligado en la visión de la industria con la identidad masculina joven y, generalmente , de raza blanca (leonard, 2006; dietrich, 2013 ). ...
    Book
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    Con la identidad como eje central, se abordan reflexiones relacionadas con la multiculturalidad, pobreza, videojuegos y competencias digitales, en las que se enfatiza la relación del nosotros con los otros, que tienen lugar a partir de estructuras en las que hay un desigual reparto del poder.
  • ... Studies on game culture have been conducted to find answers to such questions as: who plays computer games, how and why they play them, and what sort of dialogues develop between the players of a computer game ( Shaw, 2010). Gameplay experience can be defined as the integration of things, ideas, feelings, actions and efforts of making sense of things that players obtain with their senses in gaming platform. ...
    Article
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    Background. The satisfaction of a player’s gaming experience has a great impact on their game preferences. The goal of this study was to investigate the opinions and experiences of Turkish players of computer games in order to examine the effects of native symbols on their game preferences. Method. The data collection tools were games developed in Turkey, websites for these games, user comments made on the video records of the games, online forums, and an open-ended questionnaire. Results. The results indicate that although native symbols from the players’ home society play a role in shaping the users’ playability perception, it cannot be argued that they change the game preferences. These results may be applied to computer games’ designs, development strategies, and advertising methods to attract all players.
  • ... Others have as their main aim to examine the opportunities offered by some videogames when it comes to learning social values and counter-values (Greitemeyer & Osswald, 2010). The present study stems from our verification that these appealing scenarios have exceeded all expectations, exponentially increasing the number of users and generating a new game play culture (Shaw, 2010). Without a doubt, social networks along with other mobile applications are the main driving forces behind this revolution which can promote permanent interaction practices, leading some Internet companies to use micro-games with the aim of attracting more customers towards their platforms and exploiting the business opportunities generated by their interconnection (De Andrade, 2012;Feinleib, 2011). ...
  • ... While examining differences between fan types, one should not overlook the hie- rarchical structures of fandom, whose members often distinguish between acceptable and merely tolerated fan activities, especially in relation to gender. Gaming culture has been repeatedly labeled as male-dominated and heteronormative (Cassell & Jenkins, 2000;Mortensen, 2016;Shaw, 2010;Trammell, 2014), which also influences the notion of cultural capital. According to Busse, "affect and forms of fannish investment get policed along gender lines, so that obsessively collecting comic books or speaking Klingon is more acceptable within and outside of fandom than creating fan vids or cosplaying" (2013, p. 75) On the other hand, cosplaying fans have started attracting public attention and media coverage in recent years ( Leng, 2013). ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Fans are an essential part of video game culture. As such, they also find their way into promotion of video games, either willingly or unknowingly. In the article we aim to enrich the current understanding of fan-producer relations by providing a quantitative overview of official Facebook communication of four mainstream video games (in chronological order): Dragon Age: Inquisition (BioWare, 2014), Evolve (Turtle Rock Studios, 2015), Mortal Kombat X (NetherRealm Studios, 2015) and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (CD Projekt Red, 2015). Using content analysis, we explore the frequency at which fans appear on official Facebook pages, what types of fans they are, and whether they are given credit for their creations. By combining these findings with the basic metrics of user activity collected by Netvizz (Rieder, 2013), we are also able to see if these communication strategies generate greater or lesser user activity than regular promotional posts.
  • ... According toWilliams (2005, p.5), you might imagine " isolated, pale-skinned teenage boys[sitting]hunched forward on a sofa in some dark basement space, obsessively mashing buttons. " Although recent research indicates that most people do not believe in the " isolated, pale-skinned " image anymore (Kowert, Festl, & Quandth, 2014), the gamer image seems to remain strongly associated with being male (Shaw, 2010). The video game industry continues to create content that panders towards the presumed preferences of a young, male, heterosexual audience. ...
    Article
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    Full Text: https://pub.uni-bielefeld.de/publication/2905302 Women and men play video games in approximately equal numbers. Despite this similarity, video gaming is still strongly associated with men. A common justification for this stereotype is that, although women might play games, they should not be considered "true" or "hard-core" gamers because they play more casually and less skillfully compared to their male counterparts. In this contribution, we review the existing literature on gender and gaming to investigate the male gamer stereotype in terms of its accuracy, persistence, effects, and future perspective. We conclude that the stereotype varies in accuracy depending on the definition of "gamer." We further argue that the persistence of this stereotype can be explained by the fact that almost all professional and highly visible figures in gaming culture are male. On the other hand, female players who achieve a moderate level of competence are rendered invisible or are actively marginalized. We argue that the effects of the male gamer stereotype can be harmful to women, precluding them from the positive outcomes of video game play such as enhanced access to fields of science, technology, and engineering.
  • ... What is meant by video games if one decides to study their paratextuality? Is it the video game culture, which is in academia usually located around players (Shaw 2010)? Or is it the notion of video game industry, which focuses primarily on the production and only as a side-note on distribution (Consalvo 2006;Kerr 2006;Ip 2008;O'Donnell 2011; Jørgensen, Sandqvist, and Sotamaa 2015), with rare exceptions that pay more systematic attention to circulation of video games (Kerr 2017)? ...
    Thesis
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    The thesis explores paratextuality in the video game culture. This concept coined in 1982 by Gérard Genette in the context of literary publishing has been throughout the last thirty-five years adopted by other fields, including television and film studies, and game studies. However, the recent appropriations of the paratextual framework significantly deviate from its original conceptualization and cause terminological confusion. Still, paratextuality has the potential to provide a unique insight into cultural practices across various cultural industries, including video games. Figuratively described as a threshold, the concept of paratextuality deals with often overlooked elements of media ecosystems, such as promotional materials or instruction manuals. In the thesis, I present a thorough critical review of the current state of paratextual research. Due to its unsatisfactory state, I propose an updated paratextual framework, which builds on the theoretical foundations of textual transcendence. Its more practical dimensions then acknowledge the cultural specificities of the video game cultural industry. In the empirical part of the thesis, I focus on video game trailers and analyze both their formal qualities as well as their audience reception. The findings uncover the ambiguous status of a video game trailer as both a paratextual element and a noteworthy text in its own right. In this regard, they confirm the need for a more nuanced treatment of paratextuality explicated within the theoretical framework.
  • ... Players, meanwhile, do their own research as amateurs, in groups: as lovers of games, religion or both. More so than other media, digital games are surrounded by an enthusiastic and medium-specific "gamer culture" that relies on internet forums, community-made 'wiki'-encyclopediae and fan cultures to discuss games and what it means (for better or worse) to be a "gamer" [89,81,14]. When discussing games' meanings online, communities of players discuss and negotiate games' meanings within the subcultural context of game culture. ...
    Conference Paper
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    This study sets forth to analyze and categorize attitudes shown by communities of players on internet forums, debating religious worldviews in games such as BioShock and Assassin's Creed. It does so in light of the theo- and technological affordances that shape these discussions through the platforms of digital games and internet forums. Is the predominance of religion in games, as noted by other scholars, actually a topic of discussion for players themselves? And if so, which games afford discussion? What attitudes are displayed? And what are the motivations behind these attitudes? A multi-method approach is presented, analyzing 91 discussions and 20 interviews; rooted in extensive familiarization with the relevant games. Research outcomes include a typology of user attitudes, part of which actively seek out enchantment in the face of secularization. These are theorized in the context of two affordances: the theological affordances of some interactive systems to invite play with religious worldviews in a secularizing world; and the technological affordances of the internet forum as a platform that affords but shapes forum discourse.
  • ... It is also suggested that video games should not only be treated as products of technology, but also as products of culture (Goldberg and Larsson 2015). Similarly, proponents of Cultural Studies have been particularly interested in advancing an understanding of video game culture as a new kind of popular culture associated with distinct styles, behaviors, interests, and implications for ethnicity, gender, and race relations (Bogost 2015;Cover 2015Cover , 2016Shaw 2010). They have asked questions such as, Who plays? ...
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    In the relatively young field of new media studies, both video games and online dating platforms are identified as being important and popular genres of digital products, which are often discussed separately. This article argues that these two genres of digital products are not so much separate but entangled elements of the same processes of technological shifts in media industry, development of people’s online leisure activities, and the convergence of digital genres. To provide empirical evidence, this article examines a Chinese dancing video game, QQ Dazzling Dance (QQ Xuan Wu), which creatively juxtaposes these two genres of participatory digital culture and recognizes the analytical and critical values in doing so.
  • ... It is important to note, that not all video game players may have thought about these types of topics and possibly may not find their gameplay as any sort of data indicative of their mental health. And in general, there is still debate on what video culture is exactly and how it functions (Shaw, 2010). So care must be taken not to assume that a player subscribes to certain ideologies in their video game engagement. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    This research was conducted to study truancy behavior among students at a secondary school in Perak, Malaysia based on Choice Theory. The purpose of this study is to analyze the external and internal control psychology, the basic needs and the total behavior of the students involved in truancy. The research design is a case study. A total of four main respondents and three additional informants were involved in this study. Data were collected by structured interview and documents analysis. Data were analyzed using Nvivo software. Research findings showed that the (3 components) elements of love and belonging, fun and freedom are the most dominant basic needs among the respondents. The contribution of this study is meaningful in understanding truancy behavior among students based on Choice Theory so that early prevention can be taken in handling truancy behavior in school. This study also demonstrates the cross cultural application of Choice Theory and Reality Therapy.
  • ... So unique in its way that Amazon acquired Twitch for $970 millions and Youtube is still struggling to establish a similar streaming experience (Conditt 2015). Beside the alignment to the sports world, eSports is also aligned with the gaming culture (Jonasson and Thiborg 2010;Franke 2015) or gamer culture (Shaw 2010). Borders between amateur level and professional level are not clearly defined (Taylor 2012) and all people involved are adapting a certain way of living within the eSports media sphere (Chee 2006). ...
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    Media companies are still struggling with the challenge of positioning themselves on the global and digital market. They are often failing of be entrepreneurial and innovative at the same time. The concept of entrepreneurial innovation is therefore tting, however, this type of person is scarce. Currently, the eld of eSports and competitive gaming is growing quickly and many (media) companies are snapping the big eSports companies. This buying binge is especially in 2015 observable. The reason for that is not only, to buy-in into eSports, but to get this certain mix of entrepreneurial drive as well as innovational drive. In addition the eld of eSports is also capable of bridging local markets with the global market. Those people within eSports are trained in balancing out an ambidextrous organization. They are exploring new ideas but also exploiting new ideas, especially in the context of monetization. In a eld where media companies are failing to make money with digital products, there is a whole industry surrounding the digital product video games. In this paper, we show that eSports will give several implications for media companies, how to be an entrepreneurial innovator, how to balance exploration and exploitation as well as making a global product t for a local market and vice versa. The world of eSports is driven by the motto sky is the limit and that would be bene cial for media management, too.
  • ... In a way, this is nothing surprising. One important part of the disciplinary lineage of game studies encourages primarily textual analyses or studying the effects of gaming, as discussed by Mäyrä (2008), Thornham (2011) and Shaw (2010). Alt- hough there is a wide range of more sociological or political economic game stud- ies work -such as that by Dyer-Witheford and de Peuter (2009), Consalvo (2009), Taylor (2012), Kirkpatrick (2013), andCarter & Bergstrom (2016), to name but a handful. ...
    Article
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    In most writing on video games, whether within or beyond the academy, the availability of gaming media is implicitly taken for granted. However, we propose that the act of video game purchase should be seen as an important aspect of the player–video game relationship. Drawing on original interview data, this work explores two types of video game purchasing that are common in contemporary Western gaming culture – the ‘pre-order’ (paying for a game before its release), and what we term ‘backlog purchasing’ (buying a cheap game unlikely to ever be played). Through Marx and Adorno’s theorizations of value, specifically exchange-value and use-value, we argue that, according to players, the meaningful aspects of those purchases are more than simply obtaining the entertainment value realized through gaming. Instead, different kinds of purchases activities are themselves imbued with varied and powerful values, by both players and the industry. We call these ‘gaming-value’ and ‘culture-value’. Furthermore, drawing on Lewis’ conceptualization of consumer capitalism, this article also traces the ideological root of, and the flow of power beneath, these two particular types of consumption. Through analysing video game purchases, we aim to shed light upon a crucial element of the audience–media relationship, as well as other theoretical issues, most notably adapting and updating Marxist concepts for the purpose of researching modern video games.
  • ... With an increasing number of gaming platforms (in- cluding the growing importance of mobile gaming) and game types, video gaming is spreading to a very diverse public. Gamers are now split almost equally by gender: 41% are women, 59% are men (Entertainment Software Association, 2016); and video gaming is no longer disparaged as an antisocial pastime (Howe, 2014) but is even now considered by people as a new culture (Shaw, 2010) and a positive activity (Syndicat des Editeurs de Logiciels de Loisirs, 2015). ...
    Article
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    Modern lifestyles have increased a separation between humans and nature while also integrating technology into daily life. The use of technology has not only supplanted people's traditional experiences with nature but begun to change them: Through videos and documentaries , we can discover windows opened onto wilderness, landscapes, places, and species we would not be able to reach and see otherwise. Even video games contribute to this phenomenon. Can gaming play a role in the relationship between humans and nature? The current study focused on how players relate to nature in the world's number-one online role-playing game, the World of Warcraft (WoW). We distributed an online questionnaire to 1,173 French-speaking gamers to assess their preferred landscapes in the virtual environment, their relations to nature in real life, and their motivations to play. The results indicate that players prefer virtual areas displaying a significant amount of green vegetation and specific open landscapes but that this preference is not related to their connect-edness with nature nor to their motivation to play, which is mostly to escape from their daily life. We showed also that people that declared being motivated to play for nature-based reasons are those that declare being less connected with nature in real life. We discuss these results as a reflection of biophilia in a virtual context, that is, an attraction to virtual landscapes that are healthy and full of vegetation, when it has become difficult to reach such landscapes in real life.
  • ... Studies scholarship, as seen in papers regarding the marketing of games to white males (Kirkpatrick, 2013); the representation of women in casual games (Chess, 2017); the influence of national cultures, such as Japan, on global gaming (Consalvo, 2016); and generally an advocacy for the inclusion of new and underrepresented voices into the study of digital games (Leonard, 2006;Shaw, 2010Shaw, , 2011Shaw, , 2015aShaw, , 2015b). ...
    Thesis
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    This dissertation examines early adopters of mass-marketed Virtual Reality (VR), as well as other immersive technologies, and the playful processes by which they incorporate the devices into their lives within New York City. Starting in 2016, relatively inexpensive head-mounted displays (HMDs) began to be manufactured and distributed by leaders in the game and information technology industries. However, even before these releases, developers and content creators were testing the devices through “development kits.” These de facto early adopters, who are distinctly commercially-oriented, acted as a launching point for the dissertation to scrutinize how, why and in what ways digital technologies spread to the wider public. Taking a multimethod approach that combines semi-structured interviews, two years of participant observation, media discourse analysis and autoethnography, the dissertation details a moment in the diffusion of an innovation and how publicity, social forces and industry influence adoption. This includes studying the media ecosystem which promotes and sustains VR, the role of New York City in framing opportunities and barriers for new users, and a description of meetups as important communities where devotees congregate. With Game Studies as a backdrop for analysis, the dissertation posits that the blurry relationship between labor and play held by most enthusiasts sustains the process of VR adoption. Their “playbor” colors not only the rhetoric and the focus of meetups, but also the activities, designs, and, most importantly, the financial and personal expenditures they put forth. Ultimately, play shapes the system of production by which adopters of commercial VR are introduced to the technology and, eventually, weave it into their lives. Situating play at the center of this system highlights that the assimilation of digital media is in part an embodied and irrational experience. It also suggests new models by which future innovations will spread to the public.
  • ... Per questa ragione si è disegnato il gioco come un dispositivo che solleva una serie di questioni a coloro che lo giocano, questioni che in altri contesti potrebbero urtare alcune sensibilità. Attraverso un confronto costante di coloro che giocano con l'universo simbolico della cultura in cui sono immersi (Shaw, 2010) il gioco diventa una sorta di sondaggio giocabile la cui meccanica è inizialmente sconosciuta e occultata. Questa ignoranza, insieme al comfort generato dal contesto ludico, cosí come la velocità frenetica con cui si alternano i minigiochi, ci fornisce risposte affidabili che ci mostrano l'inconscio che opera su ognuno di noi (Milyavsky et al. , 2012). ...
    Conference Paper
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    Si presenta come caso di studio la creazione del videogioco «Homozapping» da parte di due dei suoi autori, sviluppato durante l’attività del collettivo ArsGames: Playlab XY01. Si introducono alcuni studi accademici sulla storia della rappresentazione dell'identità di genere e della sessualità nei videogiochi. Si presenta una breve descrizione della metodologia utilizzata per la creazione del Playlab e delle sue caratteristiche. Il Playlab è qui proposto come un processo di ricerca aperta e partecipata attraverso cui avvicinarsi al gioco per esplorare il suo potenziale critico, la sua capacità di creare spazi sociali e le possibilità in termini di apprendimento e autoformazione. Successivamente si spiegano le decisioni di disegno prese durante il processo di creazione. Il gioco consiste in una raccolta di 16 video e 8 mini giochi che vengono presentati in ordine casuale al giocatore in successioni di due video e un minigioco. Tutti i video hanno un contenuto direttamente connesso con la sessualità, ponendo il giocatore o la giocatrice di fronte all'immaginario sessuale a cui siamo sottoposti quotidianamente in quanto consumatori di televisione e pubblicità. Si conclude presentando i dati di gioco raccolti durante i primi tre mesi dalla pubblicazione
  • ... Culture in digital games is an extensively researched area [38,53], looking at the specifics in games while conceptualizing gaming culture as something that is not distinct or separate from a constructed mainstream culture [65]. Rather, the norms, values, beliefs, and expressive symbols that make up gaming culture as a web of meaning [30] are embedded in other cultural contexts. ...
    Conference Paper
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    HCI has witnessed a turn to practice as a major new paradigm within the field. We contribute to this line of research by analyzing social actions in MMORPG raiding groups. Based on a qualitative study of World of Warcraft, we turn to culture-inclusive action theory to understand how culture, game design, norms, skills and motivations come together in the players' (co)actions. Using actions as the central unit of analysis at the intersection of individual and culture, our results show how players appropriate technology to do something they desire while at the same time (re)constructing the culture of the game. We propose that culture-inclusive action theory enables a more nuanced conceptualization of gendered practices like raiding and helps decipher the elements in this sociotechnical context.
  • ... Advances in technology have pushed gaming from its early origins of simple, 2-D graphic games made for single players to games with increasing sophistication, realistic 3-D graphics, and relational and social elements inside and outside of the game. These technological advances coupled with accessibility of games led to a state of change in the demographics of gamers (Shaw, 2010). Teenage boys once dominated the gaming mar- ket, but recent data indicate the average gamer is 35 years old (ESA, 2015). ...
    Article
    Gamers are a growing population and video game culture remains unfamiliar to the majority of counselors. Little scholarship exits that would aid counselors in gaining awareness and knowledge about gamers and video game culture. Such information has implications for counselors to better meet the needs of gamers, their partners, and families seeking counseling. The authors discuss elements of gaming culture including a brief history, population characteristics, terminology, healthy and unhealthy gaming, and implications for counselors.
  • ... Unlike other media, the technological affordance of games allows multiple participants to engage with content repeatedly under similar conditions, individually or through collaborative effort. In this context, a single play- through has diminished significance compared with the broader game capital and meta-game practices such as socializing or asking other players for help (Steinkuehler 2004;Consalvo 2007;Shaw 2010;Corliss 2011). As Simon, Boudreau, and Silverman (2009) have shown with their exploration of players of the game Everquest (Sony Online Entertainment 1999), performance is never calculated simply as a momentary score of kill points, but is instead a confluence of game mechanics, personal track record in relation to others, online social experience, and offline understanding of the play context, over a period of time. ...
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    The chapter examines the entanglement of play and politics through digital media. By analysing the Obama 2008 and Trump 2016 presidential campaigns, it proposes a new term to examine political engagement, that of “casual politicking”. Building on mediatization theories, the chapter takes the affordances of the casual videogame as a template to analyse the actions performed by citizens, politicians and organisations attempting to persuade and alter behaviours. The resulting characteristics of the political process are presented through four key aspects: the role of ICT platforms with intuitive interfaces, the prevalence of issue-centred rather than ideological action, a perpetual political engagement undeterred by failure and socially-focused networks orientated for fun. When applied to both campaigns, surprising similarities can be seen despite the different messages and personalities of the candidates. (An upcoming chapter for the " Playful Citizen" book by Amsterdam University Press, expected December 2018)
  • ... For example, it might be challenging to fully address how race informs the degree of ethical play for the player in H2ST, if the ethical evaluation of the game does not also include an exploration of the designers and their values. For this reason, scholars in digital games ethics now address how a game designer's values inform design [8, 9]. In addition to the designer and the player, two important contexts should also be considered. ...
    Chapter
    In this chapter, we propose an ethical framework for serious game design, which we term the Ecosystem for Designing Games Ethically (EDGE). EDGE expands on Zagal’s categorization of ethical areas in game design by incorporating the different contexts of design and their use. In addition, we leverage these contexts to suggest four guidelines that support Ethical Stewardship in serious game design. We conclude by discussing a number of specific areas in which ethics plays a role in serious game design. These include games in (a) a military context, (b) the consideration of privacy issues, and (c) the evaluation of game design choices.
  • ... While both academics and mainstream discourse de- fine game culture heterogeneously (Shaw, 2010), we sug- gest that game culture can be differentiated based on macro, meso or micro characteristics (see Table 1). When defining game cultures on the micro level, the approach acknowledges the culture of one specific game or com- munity. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Currently in game studies there is a gap in frameworks for comparatively researching game cultures. This is a serious shortcoming as it ignores the transcultural and transnational aspects of games, play and their cultures. Based on Hepp’s (2009) transcultural framework, and Du Gay, Hall, Janes, Mackay and Negus’s (1997) circuit of culture, this article proposes a structure to comparatively analyze game cultures. This procedural method comprises several steps determining specific contexts of game culture and their categories for comparison. Each step is illustrated with a case example. Finally, we recommend placing game cultures on a transnational spectrum, which helps in suggesting that many digital games express both local and international characteristics.
  • Chapter
    Medieval scholarship has traditionally operated on an assumption about, rather than an investigation into, both the term and the theoretical concept of “game.” Such an assumption is ironic not only in light of the many medieval texts that serve as games themselves, but because the scholar who first considered the seriousness of games was himself a medievalist: the Dutch historian Johan Huizinga.2 Although Huizinga’s 1938 publication, Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture, remains the foundational text for the field of cultural game studies, as this collection illustrates, there is still much to explore about premodern games. For Huizinga, the “ludic function” is not just a way to explore and understand culture: it is cultural production. The ludic function creates a cultural product by creating meaning and cultural memory through the experience of play and of the playing of games. The chapters in this book highlight the ludic function by showing how medieval writers, players, readers, ecclesiastics, and others produced, enjoyed, and interpreted the games they played. But it is also important to understand the history of cultural game theory and its roots in medieval culture. The aim of this afterword is to consider these chapters in their larger theoretical context and to demonstrate not only how medieval studies fits into the history of cultural game theory, but also to demonstrate how the significance of the ludic function can generate future research on games in the Middle Ages.
  • Article
    In the early 1980s, digital games played at home were an unprecedented cultural phenomenon. In this article, I examine the ways computer fanzines and disk magazines from the 1980s write about games and game culture, and how they contribute to the process of digital game domestication. My sources offer insight on contemporary views on multimodal games, the qualities of good games, and the different ways game making and game playing are intertwined. It is in these fanzines and disk magazines that the cultural meaning of digital games played at home is dealt with for the first time, and they provide an unique view into a complex world in which the meanings of computers, coding, games, and gaming are constantly negotiated.
  • Chapter
    There is, of course, nothing in the slightest bit new about game playing in and around the home. Pieter Breughel’s famous painting, ‘Childrens’ Games’, painted in the 1500s, shows how many and varied the games that were played in the home environs were, albeit with very limited resources in terms of toys or other equipment. Breughel’s painting in fact shows the majority of the games in question being played outside, although whether this has to do with the available technology (mainly sticks), specific household arrangements (e.g. the domestic mode of production), architectural matters or the construction of childhood/ adulthood itself (see e.g. Aries, 1962), remains unclear. Certainly, there is a view that, for whatever reason, gaming is now something that is a more isolated and isolating experience, at least in terms of the physical locality. In this chapter, I seek to understand what both the continuities and discontinuities of game playing might be in the light of the social arrangements of domestic life.
  • Conference Paper
    Full-text available
    The area of video games study is robust after extensive research has been conducted within the past years. However, comparative video game studies are still lacking compared to other areas of research. Studies comparing game cultures are especially rare and game cultures are usually studied singularly in an explorative method. When analyzing videogames (and their cultures particularly) it is important to consider the international/global aspects, especially with the growing rate of online play, where national boundaries are becoming less relevant. Our talk will present the theoretical framework for studying digital game cultures transnationally, in an attempt to find commonalities and differences between exclusive cultures.
  • Article
    This article proposes a reflexive approach on the scientific production in the field of game studies in recent years. It relies on a sociology of science perspective to answer the question: What are game studies really about? Relying on scientometric and lexicometric tools, we analyze the metadata and content of a corpus of articles from the journals Games Studies and Games & Culture and of Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) proceedings. We show that published researches have been studying only a limited set of game genres and that they especially focus on online games. We then expose the different ways game studies are talking about games through a topic model analysis of our corpus. We test two hypotheses to explain the concentration of research on singular objects: path dependence and trading zone. We describe integrative properties of the focus on common objects but stress also the scientific limits met by this tendency.
  • Chapter
    This chapter proposes “New Platonism” as a way of describing rhetorical argument practices in the context of computational culture and neoliberal governmentality. An increasingly common rhetorical strategy, New Platonism features an enthymematic appeal premised in the presumption that there is only one possible, epistemologically sound solution to moral, social, and political problems, the very types of questions that Aristotle distinguished from philosophy and placed firmly within the domain of rhetoric. To wit, a cultural logic readily identified as Platonic is resurgent as a result of the contemporary social and material conditions, particularly computational culture and neoliberalism.
  • Article
    This paper examines gamers' perceptions of video game brand extensions through a grounded-theory qualitative methodology. Results of the focus groups and interviews reveal deep and highly contextual information pertaining to gamer characteristics (discernment and fanaticism) and extension characteristics (affordability, collectability, fit, identity-projection, and ownership), as well as the moderating roles of marketing effectiveness, interpersonal influences, and inelasticity of demand on gaming brand equity. Results provide substantial academic value and deeper insights into this culturally and economically significant industry, with distinct implications for product design, consumer segmentation, and promotion.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    In this article authors attempt to determine the role of video / computer games, as one of the most influential phenomenon of the modern culture in the discourse of social philosophy. In the analysis of this scientific problem authors appeal to the classical culturological conception of netherlandish thinker J. Huizinga, which is well - known as the "homo ludens" conception. Particular attention is paid to the contradictions of reality, with which every individual inevitably faces during his life, and artificially constructed a pseudoreality. This contradiction tirelessly leads to the crisis of legitimation social institutions in the modern post - industrial society. Video / computer games, becoming one of the most exciting components of modern mass culture, influence both on the mental, emotional, moral condition of individuals and on the development of society as a whole. Such influence of virtual games is ambiguous: on the one hand, these games can help human to meet needs in so-called "thrill", the newness, experience of something unusual, but on the other hand reduces need for development of critical thinking, imagination. Video games shift existential focus from the real existential, creative work to the virtual life, which has any creative mission. Video / computer games in a globalizing world are actively helps users to accept more easily unfamiliar culture for them. The phenomenon of social space, contribute to the understanding of bias own perception of the world, increasing the role of axiological relativism and is accompanied by a crisis of social institutions' legitimation. Virtual games also become one of the main factors that transformes modern civilization from the "consumer society" into "society of experience" or "experience consumption society" - society that is relatively strongly defined understanding of life, having an inner orientation.
  • Article
    This article explores the literacy practices associated with Let’s Play videos (or LPs) on YouTube. A hybrid of digital gaming and video, LPs feature gameplay footage accompanied by simultaneous commentary recorded by the player. Players may set out to promote, review, critique or satirize a game. In recent years, LPs have become hugely popular with young audiences, and currently make up over half the top hundred channels on YouTube. The authors identify LPs as emerging videogame paratexts with pedagogical potential. In particular, they ask how LPs function as sites of new literacies. They answer that question by discussing two key characteristics of LP practices: their emphasis on processes of meaning-making within games; and their mobilization of literacies associated with remix and appropriation. The final section of the article explores how LP practices might inform literacy instruction in schools.
  • Conference Paper
    Misogynist abuse has now become serious enough to attract attention from scholars of Law [7]. Social network platform providers have been forced to address this issue, such that Twitter is now very clear about what constitutes abusive behaviour, and has responded by updating their trust and safety rules [16].
  • Article
    Scholars have documented how people of color experience gaming culture as violent, yet it is unclear how this violence shapes conceptualizations of gaming culture. Undertaking a cultural sociological approach that foregrounds meaning-making, I demonstrate that trash talk is a useful site to explore how social actors construct and negotiate gaming culture. Analyzing data from 12 qualitative interviews with men of color, I argue that trash talk is a practice of boundary-making that reproduces racism and sexism. Respondent narratives about gaming culture vis-à-vis trash talk thus show how gaming culture is socially constructed in everyday interactions, and bound to cultural repertoires and structural conditions that exist outside of gaming. This study provides a potential avenue to explore the socially constructed and dynamic nature of gaming culture and gamer identity.
  • Article
    Recent scholarship in gaming studies has challenged the field to investigate and critique the hard core gaming audience (stereotypically seen as straight, White, cis-gendered male gamers) in a way that does not reinforce either the perceived marginalization of gamers or broader social hierarchies of gender, sexuality, and class. This article demonstrates a way to acknowledge the complexity of this audience without dismissing its most virulent tendencies via practice theory and weak theory. Using data drawn from a qualitative survey of 393 self-identified first-person shooter video game players, this article looks at the specific practice of “teabagging” in online competitive gaming contexts. Ultimately, this article argues that drawing attention to the gaps and fissures that local gaming practices can produce in broader structures of gaming, sexuality, and class can help critical gaming scholars encourage and cultivate such practices as well as construct new, reparative alliances between different fields and communities.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    In this study we explore how perceived out-of-game trolling differs within online gaming imageboards in Brazil and Russia. The two samples consist of 1443 posts from two Brazilians message boards (/jo/ and /lan) on 55chan and 1439 posts from the /v/ message board on the Russian 2ch. Both imageboards are local adaptations of 4chan. We analyzed the material from a comparative transcultural perspective. For the content analysis of message boards, we utilized a codebook based on trolling strategies developed by Hardaker (2013), which we supplemented with inductive categories derived during the coding process. Our research shows that there are similarities in the methods of trolling in Brazil and Russian imageboards, as well as in the topics which trigger attacks. Our findings suggest that trolling in both communities does not differ much and tends to be more homogeneous; adhering to a seemingly transcultural standard.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    The virtual world in online games is a miniature of reality and a space of social-ization for teenagers. The purpose of this research is to deconstruct capital formation and symbolic violence in the game field. With the adoption of Bourdieu's analytical framework and his concepts of field, capital and class, how players use their econom-ic capital, social capital and cultural capital to establish social positions is discussed in this research. The research method is adopted by depth interview with 20 participants. Through their experiences of playing games, the relationships and the conflicts among different social classes in game field are depicted. There are four results. First, the social position is piled together by economic capital, cultural capital and social capital. Economic capital is only a ticket to reach the threshold of dominant class in game field. Cultural capital and social capital are the main factors in class construction. Second, this study builds the conversion model of capitals in the game field, which depicts the circulatory relationship among eco-nomic, cultural and social capitals. Also, the capitals help to bring positive develop-ments toward daily life. Third, symbolic violence contains two perspectives: class and gender. Symbolic violence of class is shaped by capital formation of players’ different social positions. Symbolic violence of gender is a phenomenon of domination in cor-respondence to patriarchal society; however, players can stop the phenomenon and counter the gender order through various means. Last, the research also deconstructs the cause of players’ stigmatization. While facing the negative label imposed by the outside, players are also motivated to rethink and redefine their identity. The game field then becomes a potential land of breaking disciplinary boundaries and relieving gender oppression. Keywords: social capital, cultural capital, online game culture, symbolic violence, gender
  • Article
    This article discusses the recent trend of father-centred video game narratives and analyses the father-daughter relationships portrayed in four critically acclaimed and commercially successful games which exemplify this trend: BioShock 2 (2010), The Walking Dead (2012), BioShock Infinite (2013), and The Last of Us (2013). The author critiques these games for granting the father-figures agency over their daughter-figures and constructing them as moral barometers, helpful gameplay tools, and means for paternal redemption. The Walking Dead is discussed as the only positive portrayal of a father-daughter bond among this selection of games. This is an open access article in the journal Loading. You can read it here: http://journals.sfu.ca/loading/index.php/loading/article/view/180
  • Article
    For a creative expression to be widely recognized as art, sociology of art scholars argue that proponents must apply a legitimizing discourse that supporters of past art forms have successfully used. Unfortunately, sociology of art scholars have ignored the affective connections people have with these art forms and how proponents draw upon these meanings in their push for legitimation. To be sensitive to this dimension, scholars must adopt principles from the Strong Program (SP) of cultural sociology. To demonstrate the insights we gain from a SP approach, I examine how video game fans responded to disparaging comments made by the prominent film critic Roger Ebert. My findings indicate that certain aspects of fans’ push for artistic recognition are consistent with previous research. However, fans also express meaningful attachments to video games, and this affective dimension influences the narratives they construct in their pushes for legitimation. Moreover, the narratives fans construct disagree on whether video games are or can become art. Despite these disagreements, all the narratives emerge from the same affective foundation. These findings demonstrate the need for sociologists to examine how pushes for artistic legitimation build upon a deeply felt foundation.
  • Chapter
    This chapter explores the complicated relationship evangelicals and conservative protestants have with digital media. Using the case study of video game culture, this chapter identifies counter public discourse used by evangelicals to determine the boundaries of appropriate and inappropriate media consumption. In some instances, evangelicals adopt the structure of gaming journalism in discussing their experiences with spiritual content in games. In a notable exception, GameChurch.com, their counterpublic discourse centers around the idea that evangelical values can emerge from games not just from content, but also from the structure of the play. In all cases, evangelicals used digital media with a degree of savviness in order to respond to gaming culture.
  • Article
    The presence of women within videogames has progressed to a state where narratives about the empowerment of women are becoming popular; however, such games still invite a number of gendered stereotypes. Housed in the genre of adventure games, The Walking Dead: Season Two and Life Is Strange appear to follow in the spirit of this emerging women’s revolution but inevitably reestablish traditional presentations of sexism in the treatment of their endings. In particular, the presentation of the infamous Trolley Problem and its inherent utilitarian framework is an incendiary moment wherein these games mark rebellious women as necessary sacrifices for the greater good and the continuation of the community. This article explores these two specific moments of sacrifice at the conclusions of Life Is Strange and The Walking Dead: Season Two and engages with tensions between the status quo and the resistances that challenges these norms.
  • Article
    Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the sociocultural underpinnings of wiki-based knowledge production in the videogame domain, and to elucidate how these underpinnings relate to the formation of wikis as resources of videogame documentation. Design/methodology/approach The paper is based on a three-month ethnographic investigation of knowledge practices on the Dark Souls Wiki (DSW). In focus of the analysis were the boundaries and knowledge aims of the DSW, together with how its contributors organized inquiries and used various sources, methods of investigation, and ways of warranting knowledge claims. Findings The principal result of the paper is an empirical account of how the DSW functions as a culture of knowledge production, and how the content and structure of the wiki connects to the knowledge practices of its contributors. Four major factors that influenced knowledge practices on the wiki were identified: the structures and practices established by the community’s earlier wiki efforts; principles and priorities that informed wiki knowledge practices; the characteristics of the videogame in focus of the site’s knowledge-building work; the extent and types of relevant documentation provided by videogame industry, the videogaming press included. Originality/value Previous research has shown interest in investigating the mechanisms by which community-created knowledge and online resources of documentation emerge, and how these are utilized in play. There is, however, little research seeking to elucidate the sociocultural structures and practices that determine and sustain collaborative online videogame knowledge production.
  • Chapter
    This entry presents an overview of online games research. It defines online games, examining different types and presenting data on who plays online games to provide the groundwork for the nonspecialist or newcomer to the field. It traces the origins of online games to nondigital games and multi-user dungeons (MUDs), noting the particular influence of Asian online games culture. The entry also recounts the emergence of blogs, journals, conferences, and professional associations for game study scholars in the 2000s. It discusses the six subthemes that link together the entries in addition to this overview on state of the art empirical research and theoretical development on online games including work on the history and types of online games, production, effects, communication, games players, identity and cultures, and regulation and governance. This entry concludes with a review of the diverse approaches used to study online games and comments on emergent themes in recent research.
  • Chapter
    Technology and its different adaptations are the key fields for the contemporary innovations. Within technology, the forward-thinking and new openings are highly promoted in contemporary societies. Innovations such as games and the whole gaming industries are at the core business sectors in the new digitalized platform economy. Yet, much of the development in technical initiatives and technology is ignorant of gender issues, and in many corporations minority of tech employees are women. The several initiatives, courses and prizes around the globe, initiated by women and by organizations, to activate girls to become interested in technology design and to become game designers and programmers are discussed in the chapter. The Internet of things transforms our everyday lives through consumption and brings new challenges for gender analysis with its ostensibly gender-neutral operations. The chapter discusses some of the recent aspects of wearable technologies and Internet of Things in relation to gender and innovations.
  • Conference Paper
    Full-text available
    This paper reports on a literature review investigating the main ethically-related themes appearing in the academic literature on digital games, and considers their connections with games and learning, identity development, and the construction of personal beliefs. The themes explored include how videogames can shape players' attitudes or encourage the development of ethical (or unethical) behaviours (like aggression, to mention just one example), the treatment of personal and social identity, positive and negative effects concerning interaction processes in digital gaming circles, and the use of exploitative game mechanics intended to increase player engagement. These questions are explored by drawing on and updating a broadly based literature review that was carried out within the H2020 project Gaming Horizons. As well as reporting on those themes from an academic viewpoint, this paper offers some indications of both a theoretical and practical nature that may prove useful to a variety of game-world stakeholders, including game developers and marketers, researchers, educators and teachers, policy makers, and gaming enthusiasts of various kinds.
  • Article
    Books about video games have become common in the Catalan and Spanish ambits. In this text, I present a first approach at them, distinguishing non-scholar enthusiast books and academic books, through the texts in their back covers, flaps and websites, and compare the main ideas in both types. It is my view that books are being used for negotiating their role of video games in culture, and the tensions between fans and scholars are made visible in them. My hypothesis, which could be tested in a further research, is that enthusiast books are celebrations of love for fans seeking cultural legitimacy, whereas academic books are attempts to make sense of games as culture and as in culture. I defend that the medium of print is a very valuable means not only to gather critical data on video games culture and the perspectives of fans, but also to transfer ludoliteracy skills to society. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/intellect/cjcs/2017/00000009/00000001/art00007
  • Article
    Purpose: Chronic consumption practice has been greatly accelerated by mobile, interactive and smartphone gaming technology devices. The purpose of this paper is to explore how chronic consumption of smartphone gaming produces positive coping practice. Design/methodology/approach: Underpinned by cognitive framing theory, empirical insights from 11 focus groups (n=62) reveal how smartphone gaming enhances positive coping amongst gamers and non-gamers. Findings: The findings reveal how the chronic consumption of games allows technology to act with privileged agency that resolves tensions between individuals and collectives. Consumption narratives of smartphone games, even when play is limited, lead to the identification of three cognitive frames through which positive coping processes operate: the market-generated, social being and citizen frames. Research limitations/implications: This paper adds to previous research by providing an understanding of positive coping practice in the smartphone chronic gaming consumption. Originality/value: In smartphone chronic gaming consumption, cognitive frames enable positive coping by fostering appraisal capacities in which individuals confront hegemony, culture and alterity-morality concerns.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Adrianne Shaw. Gaming at the Edge – Sexuality and Gender at the Margins of the Gamer Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minesotta Press, 2014.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Using the case example of the crowd-funded YouTube documentary The Smash Brothers, this study explores how digital game culture is currently represented in social media. The units for a qualitative content analysis, as described by Krippendorf (2004), are defined through thematic distinction. The results refer to four major categories that represent digital game culture as a whole: game, gamer, gameplay and game community. The interaction between gamer and game (gameplay) is the most stressed element of game culture. Gameplay was depicted to be of varying nature and in opposition, considered both a sport and an art. The portrayal of the culture in our sample stresses both negative and positive aspects, remarking on features that increase the popularity of the game.
  • Book
    This book explores the lifecycle of digital games. Drawing upon a broad range of media studies perspectives with aspects of sociology, social theory, and economics, Aphra Kerr explores this all-pervasive, but under-theorized, aspect of our media environment.
  • Book
    An Introduction to Game Studies is a core textbook for game studies as an academic discipline, and is the comprehensive guide to the field. It introduces the student to the history and character of games studies as an analytical study of games in culture, and then moves to provide an overview of games as signifying and dynamic cultural constructs. This book shows how to analyze games by introducing the core analytical concepts in the contexts of games and game cultures of four periods. It covers the prehistory of games, the 70s, 80s, and 90s and also contemporary developments. Students will be introduced to both the theoretical core and the essential genres and classics of the subject.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Online games have exploded in popularity, but for many researchers access to players has been difficult. The study reported here is the first to collect a combination of survey and behavioral data with the cooperation of a major virtual world operator. In the current study, 7,000 players of the massively multiplayer online game (MMO) EverQuest 2 were surveyed about their offline characteristics, their motivations and their physical and mental health. These self-report data were then combined with data on participants’ actual in-game play behaviors, as collected by the game operator. Most of the results defy common stereotypes in surprising and interesting ways and have implications for communication theory and for future investigations of games.
  • Book
    "This book presents the most current research in fantasy games and examines the cultural and constructionist dimensions of fantasy gaming as a leisure activity. Each chapter investigates some social or behavioral aspect of fantasy gaming and provides insight into the cultural, linguistic, sociological, and psychological impact of games on both the individual and society"--Provided by publisher.
  • Article
    As games continue to displace television as a mainstream leisure activity, there has never been a better time to study games and to create solid connections between game developers and academic researchers. Building these connections will not be easy for there exists little common ground, and games are surrounded by supposition and saddled with the contradictory presumptions of harm and triviality. Despite these challenges, it is time to study games.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    New media technologies have long tapped into social hopes and anxieties, and the turmoil that follows their appearance offers a window into the social tensions of the time. Clashing sets of utopian and dystopian visions have typically resulted in an ambivalent portrayal of such technologies. Video games prove to be no exception. Through a content analysis of media frames in the USA's three leading news magazines, the reception and presentation of video-game technology was tracked over a thirty-year period, 1970–2000. The resulting patterns tell a story of vilification and partial redemption, owing to the mainstream acceptance of the medium and the aging user base. Fears of the negative effects from the new technology were hypothesized to come from a routine set of conservative worries. The results support this hypothesis. Moreover, the frames surrounding games, especially in the 1980s, reveal many of the key social tensions of the times, primarily those surrounding gender roles, the separation of age and racial groups, and the role of female parents within an increasingly technological society. The place of video games within the larger context of media history, and the social causes of the frames are discussed.
  • Article
    This article argues that the contemporary console video game industry is a hybrid encompassing a mixture of Japanese and American businesses and (more importantly) cultures to a degree unseen in other media industries, especially in regard to US popular culture. The particularities of the video game industry and culture can be recognized in the transnational corporations that contribute to its formation and development; in the global audience for its products; and in the complex mixing of format, style and content within games. As an exemplar of this process, the Japanese game publisher Square Enix is the focus of this case study, as it has been successful in contributing to global culture as well as to the digital games industry through its glocal methods. That achievement by a non-Western corporation is indicative of the hybridization of the digital games industry, and it is examined here as one indicator of the complexities and challenges, as well as future potentials, of global media culture.
  • Article
    This paper compares two computer war games, US-produced and Arab-produced, which represent the conflict in Lebanon. It asks whether the format exerts an influence over the content of the games. The paper gives the historical background to the actual activities of the US and Hizbollah in the region and then looks at the representations of social actors, settings, and action in the games. We ask how these games relate to the real world events they recontextualize. We ask how they frame these events in terms of a ‘special operations’ discourse of war that has its origins in the US, yet do so with specific inflections that reflect the interests of the context in which they were produced. We show that different political interests are reflected in the content of the games, but that the global power of the format of the computer war game exerts its influence across this divide. Such formats are not neutral containers for politically different content, but themselves carry values and an ideological message about conflict resolution.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    The market for adult computer gamers is growing considerably. However, there are nearly no empirical works that are primarily focusing this age group. Therefore, there is an urgent need for explorative studies on these gamers. In a qualitative in-depth interview study with 21 gamers aged between 35 and 73 years, this article describes their gaming careers, the integration of gaming into their everyday life, and aspects of social interaction within real and virtual life. Overall, the findings of this study sketch a lively picture of adult players. Many of the interviewees show a very strong interest in the social aspects of gaming. However, gaming can put some strain on their family life, and many older gamers feel that their partners and peers regard their hobby as being inappropriate for their age. Still, most of the interview partners successfully manage to combine occupational and private duties with their gaming activities.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    The 1990s saw the digital games console industry adopt similar commercial strategies to the cultural industry which for 80 years has been most closely associated with the process of globalisation - the Hollywood-based movie industry. The major console players, Sony, Nintendo and more recently Microsoft, expanded on a global scale, vertically and horizontally integrating through alliances and take-overs as they sought to control platforms, content development, publishing and distribution. Moreover the relationship between the two industries has become increasingly symbiotic. Vivendi-Universal has moved into the exploitation of both game and film assets on a global scale and would seem to exemplify what we understand by a global firm. This paper considers globalisation through an analysis of the movie and digital game industries both globally, and from the perspective of a small country like Ireland, which has a high level of cinema attendance and game sales but is struggling to establish domestic movie and game industries.
  • Article
    Review of The Ultimate History of Video Games / Kent, Steven L. The Ultimate History of Video Games. Prima Publishing, 2001..
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Our aim in this article is to explore videogames as new media practices, not in isolation but as part of broader media transformations related to the development of current digital technologies. Videogames are the product of a hybridization process between audiovisual media forms and game cultures, rapidly gaining popularity among kids and the elderly population. The experience of audiovisual consumption and aesthetic pleasure is enhanced by interactive and game amusement components not found in previous audiovisual genres such as cinema or TV. In fact, videogames situate `play' at the core of the audiovisual experience, introducing innovative changes in audiovisual production and reception patterns. Our proposal is that videogames introduce a new relationship between subject and representation that goes far beyond the `spectatorship' position, pointing to a playful relationship with images that may be useful for understanding new forms of media practices. Videogames, thus, as a new media practice, can be seen as an exponent of greater change not only regarding how media are produced and consumed, but also in the way leisure is organized and in the role of play in our everyday life.
  • Article
    Although ‘youth culture’ and the ‘sociology of youth’ — and particularly critical and Marxist perspectives on them — have been central strands in the development of cultural studies over the past fifteen years, the emphasis from the earliest work of the National Deviancy Conference (NDC) onwards has remained consistently on male youth cultural forms.1 There have been studies of the relation of male youth to class and class culture, to the machinery of the State, and to the school, community and workplace. Football has been analysed as a male sport, drinking as a male form of leisure, the law and the police as patriarchal structures concerned with young male (potential) offenders. I do not know of a study that considers, never mind prioritises, youth and the family. This failure by subcultural theorists to dislodge the male connotations of ‘youth’ inevitably poses problems for those who are involved in teaching about those questions. As they cannot use the existing texts ‘straight,’ what other options do they have?
  • Article
    The information age has, under our noses, become the gaming age. It appears likely that gaming and its associated notion of play may become a master metaphor for a range of human social relations, with the potential for new freedoms and new creativity as well as new oppressions and inequality. Although no methodological or theoretical approach can represent a cure-all for any discipline, in this article the author discusses how anthropological approaches can contribute significantly to a game studies nimble enough to respond to the unanticipated, conjunctural, and above all rapidly changing cyberworlds through which everyone in some way is now in the process of redefining the human project.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Games are an extremely valuable context for the study of cognition as inter(action) in the social and material world. They provide a representational trace of both individual and collective activity and how it changes over time, enabling the researcher to unpack the bidirectional influence of self and society. As both designed object and emergent culture, g/Games (a) consist of overlapping well-defined problems enveloped in ill-defined problems that render their solutions meaningful; (b) function as naturally occurring, selfsustaining, indigenous versions of online learning communities; and (c) simultaneously function as both culture and cultural object—as microcosms for studying the emergence, maintenance, transformation, and even collapse of online affinity groups and as talkaboutable objects that function as tokens in public conversations of broader societal issues within contemporary offline society. In this article, the author unpacks each of these claims in the context of the massively multiplayer online games.
  • Article
    Acknowledgements Introduction: participative public, passive private? 1. Colonial theater, privileged audiences 2. Drama in early Republican audiences 3. The B'hoys in Jacksonian theaters 4. Knowledge and the decline of audience sovereignty 5. Matinee ladies: re-gendering theater audiences 6. Blackface, whiteface 7. Variety, liquor and lust 8. Vaudeville, incorporated 9. 'Legitimate' and 'illegitimate' theater around the turn of the century 10. The celluloid stage: Nickelodeon audiences 11. Storefronts to theaters: seeking the middle class 12. Voices from the ether: early radio listening 13. Radio cabinets and network chains 14. Rural radio: 'we are seldom lonely anymore' 15. Fears and dreams: public discourses about radio 16. The electronic cyclops: fifties television 17. A TV in every home: television 'effects' 18. Home video: viewer autonomy? 19. Conclusion: from effects to resistance and beyond Appendix: availability, affordability, admission price Notes Selected bibliography Index.
  • Article
    This paper describes an investigation conducted into the current accessibility and allure of gaming platforms for females. In order to investigate one of the most developed areas of new media, a traditional feminist approach of explaining factors that exclude females from new media technologies was avoided in favour of a focus upon the experiences and attitudes of females who already view themselves as 'gamers'. Synonymous with 'grrl gamer' and 'game girlz' this paper uses the term 'girl gamer' to describe females who possess an aptitude for the games that currently define the contours of the gaming culture. In-depth interviews and ethnographic game-play observations conducted with a small sample revealed that 'girl gamers' possess an alternative playing orientation, style of play, the importance of cultural competency in game preference, as well as knowledge on the ways gaming is embedded in household dynamics.
  • Article
    Notwithstanding the presence of extreme racialized tropes within the world of video games, public discourses continue to focus on questions of violence, denying the importance of games in maintaining the hegemonic racial order. Efforts to exclude race (and intersections with gender, nation, and sexuality) from public discussions through its erasure and the acceptance of larger discourses of colorblindness contribute to a problematic understanding of video games and their significant role in contemporary social, political, economic, and cultural organization. How can one truly understand fantasy, violence, gender roles, plot, narrative, game playability, virtual realities, and the like without examining race, racism, and/or racial stratification—one cannot. This article challenges game studies scholars to move beyond simply studying games to begin to offer insight and analysis into the importance of race and racialized tropes within virtual reality and the larger implications of racist pedagogies of video games in the advancement of White supremacy.
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