Video Game Cultures
This chapter is uses more of an ethnographic approach to analyze the (sub)cultures surrounding games; the authors seem to focus on what gamers do with games. Throughout the chapter, you might have been able to pick up on the undertone that defends video games and video game studies. Maybe.
I find these two quotations that bookend the chapter revealing about the authors’ goal:
- p. 157: “Games are part of a complex cultural system as well as generators of a specific player culture.”
- p. 193: “Games…are transformed by players, who are producers of culture, and how this happens is likely to occupy game scholars for many years.”
Cultural Position of Video Games
- p. 158: “No cultural form exists in isolation.”
- No argument here. How does culture mediate video games? Who has the most agency: the player or industry or economy?
- p. 158: A word or two on taste…
- “Media that are seen as primarily market-driven fare poorly in the quest for acceptance as a culturally valuable activity.”
- Bourdieu argued that “[t]hose with power will praise their own tastes in music and books and cultural media in general, and will tend to label other cultural forms as uncivilized or otherwise problematic.”
- What are highbrow forms of entertainment?
- Couldn’t we also argue that people tend to denigrate entertainment they don’t understand or like regardless of their power?
- p. 160: The authors don’t approve of looking at “games exclusively as representational objects,” ignoring “their procedural characteristics.”
- They note lots of “representational bias” in video game studies.
- Somehow April Ryan of The Longest Journey is above representational analysis.
- Nothing conclusive on this fan art page, huh?
- p. 161: Procedural rhetoric: “The art of persuasion through rule-based representations and interactions rather than spoken word, writing, images, or moving pictures” (Ian Bogost).
- p. 163: “[P]layers are not dupes who consume violent content; instead they are empowered to choose both the games they play and their playing strategies.”
- Mediated in large part by the game creators…
- p. 163: Video games considered escapism…
- p. 167: Attacks on video games (from parents, politicians, police, etc.) “reflect basic conservative fears about new media, and even show the same historical progression of anxiety that other media before them have suffered.”
Players (How do Players Become Playas?)
- p. 168: Moving from what is a game to how is the game played.
- p. 171: “Reality is just another window, like the window of a computer screen.”
- p. 171: Cognitive science and emotions in games.
- p. 173: “Developers have become more and more aware of the fact that social games not only encourage people to play nicely together, but also open the door for a lot of ‘undesirable behavior.'”
- p. 175: “[M]en control both the production and consumption ends of the industry, with the products themselves mainly targeted at a male audience.”
- Any other industry that parallels the video game industry?
- p. 179: Gamergate…the authors shortchanged this subject but did mention there is “a strong undercurrent” of misogyny in video games.
- Depictions of Women in Video Games
Communities and Poaching (Fandom)
Let’s preview your Canvas prompts.
We’re not meeting as a class next week–10/06. I will have a reading for you on Canvas and, of course, a prompt.