No-one Plays Alone

Bateman, Chris ORCID: 0000-0003-1627-8392 (2016) No-one Plays Alone. In: DiGRA/FDG 2016, 1-6th August, 2016, Dundee, Scotland UK. (Submitted)

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The discourses around games have tended to focus upon either their artefactual qualities or the phenomenological experience of play. In both cases, games are primarily to be understood singularly. An alternative approach, related to Foucault’s archaeological methods, is to focus upon the manner in which games share player practices with earlier games. This technique can be applied to all eras of games, and is not merely restricted to videogames – indeed, a significant proportion of the player practices of videogames descend directly from the player practices of tabletop games, especially in terms of the progenitive role of tabletop role-playing games for contemporary digital entertainment. Such player practices can be broadly understood in terms of interface (how the player engages with the game), world (what the player imagines is happening), or the agency practices that connect the interface and the world. Three propositions concerning the relationships between fictional setting and designed rule systems within games are explored, the last of which stresses the idea that ‘no-one plays alone’ i.e. that all play entails continuity of its practices over and above variation of those practices. These propositions are used to demonstrate three aesthetic flaws that are peculiar to, or particularly relevant for, videogames. This in turn leads to a discussion of the ways that commercially successful games have always proceeded by leveraging the existing networks of practice. The result is an alternative perspective for game design, game scholarship, or game critique, one that foregrounds the role of player practices.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: player practices, aesthetics, play aesthetics, games, fiction, rules, lineages
Divisions: School of Creative Technologies > Games Computing and software engineering
Depositing User: Tracey Gill
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2018 13:58
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2018 13:58

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