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.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Abstract - Open Source Culture

Open Source Culture: Participatory Culture and the Digital Divide

Henry Jenkins’ recent publications on convergence have focused on the way that the active audience, equipped with the productive and distributive tools of digital technology might transform the waning public sphere in the USA, at the expense of effectively excluding discussion of the transnational and uneven practices of cultural convergence. However, in his work the stakes of convergence culture are clearly established: empowered consumers (potentially) have an active role in transforming – and democratizing – governments and corporations. This article will examine what this emergent politicized form of consumption/production means in the context of the unevenness of global participation in the information economy.

By focusing on the tactics of participation that are deployed in the global ‘South’ through a case study of media practices and consumption in Venezuela this article will demonstrate what is at stake in the shift to a media paradigm of convergence. In particular I will focus on the role that media piracy plays in providing a heterogeneous space of participation outside the news and telecommunications media, which have come under increasingly strict government controls since Hugo Chávez’s 2006 re-election.

To address this precarious participation in global media production, enabled through illegal practices that are disciplined by both local and global forces, I will turn to the work of Néstor García Canclini and George Yúdice on the uneven relationship between consumption and citizenship in order to contest dominant dialogues of piracy. Finally the article will re-examine piracy in the context of open source, in order to argue that to extend the consumer/citizen empowerment of convergence globally the notion of open source must be extended to include hardware, and education, as well as software.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Hunkering down

Its time to get the rest of my PhD out of the way. No commitments for the next six weeks (apart from teaching), so I need to do some good solid writing.

The trip to CSU Dominguez Hills was cool, I still don't understand how I was there for 3 days and was gone from Audtralia for five. Time is confusing, especially when combined with space.

Interesting that no one that I spoke to in the USA has heard of Second Life, or even of America's Army.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Abstract - Border Politics of MMOs

(with Dr. Katarina Damjanov)

The Border Politics of Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games:

Gaming in the ‘Free’ World

As a notion of place ‘the border’ has been deployed in a number of ways, of particular interest to this article is the way that ‘the border’ has been invoked as a shifting and immaterial boundary, and a metaphor for global mobility and hybridity. In this regard we wish to highlight two aspects of Pablo Vila’s (2000) work: his critique of a homogenous concept of ‘the border’; and his focus on uneven dynamics that borders impose.

The concept of the border will be used in this article to explore the exclusionary boundaries of massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), both in regard to access to the games, and of access within the games themselves. This investigation elaborates on the established uneven power dynamic in MMORPGs between the corporate owners of the game, and the players of the game. The aim of the article is to open up the category of players of MMORPGs to explore stratification within, and between, games that is derived from an unevenness of access.

The article will examine the ways that this unevenness stems from economics, technology, and culture through an ethnographic investigation of MMORPG play in Belgrade, Serbia, Melbourne, Australia, and Caracas, Venezuela. The discussion will focus on games popular at all sites: Tibia (CipSoft, 1996), Flyff (AeonSoft, 2004), and Second Life (Linden Labs, 2003). Through an analysis of this empirical data, the notion of the border in relation to MMORPGs will be explored, to argue while this genre of videogames represents a form of international space, that the inequalities and unevenness that characterize the demarcation of borders between states are carried through to the virtual game worlds, replicating and reproducing off-line hierarchies. Of particular interest will be the stakes and status of playing these games for free, vis-à-vis a system that allows people who are free-players and fee-paying subscribes to both play together and co-produce a virtual economy.

Vila, P. (2000). Crossing Borders, Reinforcing Borders: Social Categories, Metaphors, and Narrative Identities on the U.S.-Mexico Frontier. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Monday, April 02, 2007

More Rejections... ...But Some Hope

I got another rejection letter from RMIT, this one was worded very kindly, thanking me for the effort I had made in applying. I had read their mission statement, and specifically addressed how I could help them achieve their mission.... anyway they wish me luck in my future career, which I can say without sarcasm is kind of them, because no one else has bothered to say that!

Still waiting for a rejection letter from Swinburne, I know that I didn't get the job because my colleague and buddy Christian McCrea got the job. Well done Christian!! Still haven't congratulated him in person, but Swinburne has made a smart move snapping him up.

As for me, I'm of to the USA for a job interview this week at California State University - Dominguez Hills, in the College of Liberal Arts, Department of Communication. Should be cool, definitely my biggest challenge yet.

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.