Global gaming networks are heterogenous collectives of localized practices, not unified commercial products. Shifting the analysis of digital games to local specificities that build and perform the global and general, Gaming Rhythms employs ethnographic work conducted in Venezuela and Australia to account for the material experiences of actual game players.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hand Book of Computer Game Studies

Well I finally got the copy from the library here at the University of Melbourne, the catalog says that they have two, but one has disappeared into the void that is the library already (along with Myers' The Nature of Computer Games, Gee's What Videogames Have To Teach Us About Learning and Literacy and a couple of others). So it looks really good, I saw a couple of chapters immediately that drew my attention, stuff about participatory culture and counterfactuals, as well as some interesting stuff from contributors like Turkle, Everett and Schliener. Its got a lot of stuff by Europeans, but only one that I see from the Copenhagen School. I'll start reading one chapter a day, that should last me until Xmas.

Also I have heard back from various people about the events in Sydney last weekend (IE & CSAA conferences). Greg Wadley mentioned that the IE was pretty good and that he and Martin Gibb are thinking of putting in a bid to host it in 2007.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Johan Huizinga

I suppose there are a few people out there who have read Homo Ludens. It one of those books that gets cited alot, but never really has an in depth discussion of his actual argument, apart from the usual cliches about play being a time and space of its own. He is a lot more famous for his work as a 'Cultural Historian', than his is for his work on games. However, I think his perspective on games and their relation to culture is important to the development of Game Studies. Escpecially in terms of countering some of the extremeness of Aarseths 'game is a game' position (see his discussion with Stuart Moulthrop in First Person).

Anyway I'm up late tonight giving Huizinga a close reading... ...lots of fun!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Rejected: Again

Here is an abstract that I sent to Dr Nathaniel Garrelts for his forthcoming edited collection of GTA:

Of Sins, Vices and Pecados: The Cultural Context of Videogame Play

Using a case study of Grand Theft Auto 3: Vice City this paper will examine the cultural context of videogame consumption in Caracas, Venezuela in Summer 2005. Using data gathered through ethnographic fieldwork, participant observation and interviews over that period, this paper will examine the features of Vice City that made it the most often played single player game in Internet cafes. I will argue that in this case rather than any graphic or narrative elements that the game contained, it is the flexibility in terms of styles and approaches to play the game allowed that led to the game becoming a standard feature within Venezuelan gaming life. I will maintain that his is because it both catered to the requirements of the intense social space of the offline interactions within the Internet café, and superseded the limitations and difficulties imposed by the various social, economic and technological factors facing the game playing audience in Venezuela.

It was promptly (and politely) declined, as the editor wished to focus on "
essays that specifically addressed a Grand Theft Auto game from a defined theoretical perspective". I'm pretty sure he got about 1000 abstracts considering just about every paper at the PCA/ACA conference was on GTA. In fact theres a big scandal about the 'Hot Coffee' scences in Australia at the moment, thats got a special panel devouted to it at the IE in Sydney this weekend (that I couldn't go to - because no $$$). In fact I'm starting to the GTA can stand in for computer games as a whole... Grand Theft Auto Studies, sounds cool? I mean it's not like it's a lame game, but I'm kinda over it... ...I guess every academic is just studying what the kids are playing (it means they can watch them over their shoulder rather than playing them, themselves!!), and games like Grim Fandango are irrelevant and researching them could not possibly reveal anything about computer games.

Anyway I'm happy because it means I don't have to write it right now, although I'm working on something to do with GTA because I just got so much data about it on my fieldwork in Venezuela.

Abstract - Place and Identity

Place and Identity in Global Networks: a Cross-Cultural Examination of Gunbound

Gunbound is a free Internet-based computer game, that is made by the Korean company Softnyx, which is popular in many parts of the globe. Taking Gunbound as a case study, my research explores gaming as a global and transnational phenomena, in particular the flow of gaming products from the North to the South, and the new assemblages of networks that this flow allows. Using data gathered during ethnographic fieldwork in Caracas, Venezuela and Melbourne, Australia during 2005, this paper will focus on the specific local contexts of the play of Gunbound. Rather than approaching the game as a text, my concern is to examine the ways by which this game is insinuated into the everyday life of the players. In this paper I will argue that the nature of Gunbound is such that the player enters into a negotiation between the local and the global during the course of play, that it becomes a technologically and culturally hybrid site in which players can explore issues of place and identity in relation to transnational global networks.

Keywords: Identity, Transnational, Ethnography,

Lazarus Post

Well its been a long time since I've made a proper post here. I've been pretty busy since I cam back from Caracas at the end of July. Tutoring media futures at Melbourne Uni and lecturing Perspectives in Communication at Victoria Uni. I also made a number of guest lectures at Swinburne, Melbourne and Victoria Unis. And have presented three times various aspects of my data (all at in house forums unfortunately). At the same time I've been writing up my field work: expect to see something soon here on that, and working on some chapters and publications.

About Me

This blog started as a PhD blog, for my project 'Global Rhythms: Video games and the Transformation of Play'. It finally become a book. This is a "historic" record of the trials a tribulations.