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Pleasures of the Player: Flow and Control in Online Games



This is a very early autoethnographic study of online digital game communities. It discusses role-play online and offline, methods for studying multiuser games, and reader-response theory used to study the relationship between the player and the game.
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... In game studies, much of the analysis and understanding of games has been carried out through researcher self-play, based on the idea that, in order to understand how a particular game works, the researcher has to experience it themselves (Aarseth 2003;Mäyrä 2008, 165-67;Mortensen 2002). In such studies, the player is either the researcher themselves as an empirical, historical player -however unrepresentative they may be -or an implied player Mortensen 2003) intended by the design of the game. According to Aarseth, there is a divide between humanist research focusing on textual analysis and the sociologically and ethnographically oriented research focusing on empirical players: ...
... In this capacity, Yee and Castronova's perspective is representative of a certain focus on social elements in game studies and media studies. In game studies, a large body of research describes how players of online games organize different activities within the confines of the games (Ducheneaut et al. 2006;Karlsen 2009;Kendall 2002;Mortensen 2003;Taylor 2006). Several studies focus more discretely on how the elements of competition and cooperation conjointly contribute to excessive use, for instance in connection with organized group play like raiding (Taylor 2003;Karlsen 2008b;Linderoth & Bennerstedt 2007). ...
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Introduction: A highly-debated subject among the public during recent years has been the possibility of becoming addicted to online games. A common response from game researchers is to describe this as unlikely by referring to the complexity of the games in question. Nick Yee, for instance, has stated that: Online games are social worlds with their own geography, culture, dialect, and social rules … They are places where people meet and then get married face-to-face. And to the extent that they are social places, asking whether someone can be addicted to an MMO is like asking whether someone can be addicted to the United States. (Yee 2006) Edward Castronova uses a similar argument, and, in this case, he contrasts computer game playing with being an alcoholic, as, allegedly, his mother was: Now suppose she instead had been addicted to EverQuest. To me, that sentence, in comparison to alcohol addiction, sounds like someone suggesting: What if your mother was addicted to France instead of alcohol? I would reply, Fine! She likes France. Let's move to France. End of problem. (Castronova 2005: 65) The basis for this argument is a view of online games as complex spaces where the player has a vast number of avenues of exploration available. In their arguments , Yee and Castronova seem to imply that the many possibilities that exist in the game universe will automatically generate an equally varied form of use. An interesting aspect of this argument is that, in contrast to more traditional media types where the complex social and cultural context of the user is seen as mitigating the impact of the media, the complexity has now moved inside the medium itself. It is unclear what kind of empirical support Yee and Castronova have for their arguments, and it might be pertinent to ask whether
Representations of LGBTQ (or queer) themes and characters have been scarce throughout the history of role-playing games. However, there is a gap between source material of a game and the actual play of it. Our chapter explores this gap with two objectives: first, the authors review what kind of queer existence is possible in tabletop, online multiplayer, and live-action role-playing. Second, this chapter addresses how players negotiate with these “urtexts” in carving out queer potentials. Drawing from numerous examples, the authors conclude that the emergence of queer play necessitates the affordances of the urtext of the game, each player’s unique approach to play, and the core player group or online community in which the play is situated.
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The historical roots of the technology and design of computer games can be found in Pentagon-supported research in 1960s. Many computer games had their origin as simulators and training equipment for the armed forces. It can be argued that the content of computer games concerning real wars reflects the ideological interest of the military-industrial complex or the military-entertainment complex, as Robin Andersen has redefined it. Selected games such as ’America’s Army’, ‘Army of Two’’ and companies such as ‘Kuma War’ are analysed critically within the framework of the fight for ideological hegemony in the Global War on Terror. It is argued that when computer game are read as text, they can also be read as propaganda.
Les jeux vidéo ont, finalement, réalisé leur révolution et, aujourd’hui, plus personne ne conteste leur suprématie dans les activités de loisirs des adolescents. Le débat qui persiste se concentre sur la nature – bonne ou mauvaise – de son influence. Pour dépasser cette opposition, l’étude du public adolescent d’un simulateur de vie permet de se concentrer sur l’expérience même qu’en font les joueurs. À quoi bon jouer à un simulateur de vie ? Le jeu vidéo sur ordinateur le plus populaire au monde, et ce depuis plus de quinze ans, est justement un jeu simulant la vie. Les Sims® fut créé en 2000 par l’Américain Will Wright, déjà créateur et développeur du révolutionnaire Sim City®. En septembre 2014, le quatrième opus de la série est sorti, rencontrant, une fois de plus, un grand succès. Alors que Les Sims® est une simple simulation de vie, comment se fait-il que génération après génération, les joueurs s’enthousiasment sans relâche pour ce jeu vidéo ? Pour comprendre ce phénomène, mais surtout les apports de cette pratique de simulation de vie, nous allons nous pencher tout d’abord sur ce que font, en réalité, les adolescent-joueurs dans Les Sims®. Nous nous intéresserons par la suite, aux potentialités qu’offrent la pratique vidéo-ludique de simulation de vie pour ses joueurs.
This contribution argues principally that we ought to be able to conceive of computer games as ontologically real since they embody, like any other component of our broader, culturally endowed and constructed, sense of reality, characteristic aspects of three principal types of cultural units that we shall refer to as material, immaterial and mediated cultural artifacts. The complex blends of phenomenal experience we conjure up as we engage enactively in various forms of gameplay in the fictional possible worlds of digital games are seen as culturally inherited, commonplace kinds of experience that blend seamlessly with, and link meaningfully to, our experiences of many other types of material, immaterial and mediated cultural artifacts that we casually interact with on a day to day basis in similar, but nonetheless quite different, ways. I also argue that all our enactive experiences involving interactions with blends of material, immaterial and mediated artifacts can be seen as constituent facets of our very rich, culturally constructed everyday experience of what we refer to normally as the actual world, the real world, or “reality”. Further, I claim that these experiences, whatever form they may take, and whatever effects they may have on our personal and collective ways of “being in the world”, and our shared relationships with other beings, human or otherwise, with whom we share this world, are all, in this particular sense, real too. On the basis of the above considerations, it appears it ought to be possible to learn a good deal more about our on-going relationships with both the real world, ourselves and others, by focusing philosophically (and scientifically) on how the fictional worlds of computer games are experienced and appraised by players and others they may encounter during gameplay, and on which, if any, meaningful relationships players are able to establish between their gameplay experiences and their day to day experiences of interactions with other blends of material, immaterial and mediated cultural artifacts that we consider part of the real world as we know it. If this way of reasoning about such matters is a viable one, we will probably also be able to learn a lot more about computer game fictional possible worlds too by focusing on alternative ways of describing and understanding our day to day experiences of the real world, and our own intimate interactive relationships with this world, of which computer games, their material platforms and their immaterial fictional possible worlds are of course only one tiny – but very real – part.
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Video gaming proffers manifold possibilities in role taking and requires players to entertain dialogues with various interlocutors in online and offline contexts. Online games have been extensively studied. Yet, we wonder what happen through the offline interaction between the player and their avatars. This work shows that, while playing with The Sims®, players undertake a socializing voyage through several stops: simulation, anticipation, experimentation, embezzlement and interdependence. Throughout their experiences video gamers extend their awareness and their plasticity to increase their social flexibility. At the end of their voyage, players achieve a better understanding of their social world. The socializing voyage is the micro level of the video-ludological socialization developed elsewhere. Key words: Video gaming, The Sims®, Socialization, Role-taking, Self.
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