One of my biggest pet peeves in reading gaming studies is when studies seem to patronise gamers, which can happen in various ways such as the researcher not even playing the games (or mentioning that they have ANY experience with games) or not allowing the player to speak for themselves.
Just for some context: my main area of study is around immersion and identification. I should also mention I use qualitative methods, not quantitative, so if you are a researcher reading this, going ‘WTF she on about?’ feel free to leave a comment about how it works in your discipline. Always happy to learn!
Hello! And welcome to another exciting adventure of …. me trying to work out how to use methodology. When we last saw our hero, I was trying to organise my ethics application which is now (finally!) about to be submitted and I can get onto my literature review and methodology chapter.
While some methodology I’m using is pretty easy, auto-ethnography, fan studies/cyberethnography (think, reading forums or blog posts where fan discussions are had), what I’m doing with these videos is really taking from a few different styles of other ethnographies and trying to apply them to video games. Usually, these are things like “walking with” or “tour videos”, but applying them into a game context can be difficult for a variety of reasons.
The reason why I’m doing this in a weird and new manner is because I feel that some of the stuff I have read so far give very little agency to the focus of the study: the gamer themselves. For example, think of a multiple choice personality test. You’ll get questions where you aren’t sure whether you better fit one or two, or even more, of the answers available, but you can only pick one even though it is not quite right. This is so not my style. Instead, my research will be guided by gamers themselves and what they choose to say or show. It is about the gamer FULLY choosing how to represent themselves, not being some pawn. They create their own context.
And with that rant out of the way, here is Part Two wherein my friend (who I nicknamed Paladin) films his gameplay of one of his save games.
I’m trying to work out my ethics application at the moment, so I thought I’d test my instructions on one of my friends. Yes, he’d be biased; no, I’m not using it for the main study. I just wanted to see what sort of video he would create based on the instructions I gave him, and what information I could gather from it.
In this, I’m going to call him Paladin, and Paladin chose to play Mount and Blade: Warband. While he recorded two videos for me on this game, he played different avatars in each one, so this blog post will be on the first video only that went for 10 minutes (the first video is to show the character creation and introduction to the game, where the second video is showing gameplay of his most recent save file). In this video, his avatar was Shizuka.
I’ve not played Mount and Blade before, so any vagueness about the description of game play is because I’m limited by this one source. Screenshots are watermarked across the top with a web address due to the free recording software used.
As part of my research, I’m going to be doing some autoethnography – meaning I’ll include some story about what I do and how I play games. This won’t be the only methodology I’ll use, that would be pretty boring, but if I’m going to research and write about games, I’m going to play them. Still sorting out which games, but for now, I’ll just make these posts on my gameplay of random ones.
Turn back now if you don’t want spoilers!
So this post is about Dragon Age: Origins with my Elf Mage, Neria. This was my first playthrough of Dragon Age. I won the game from EA Australia a while back and never got round to actually playing it. I started because A) I stopped playing WoW and suddenly had a whole lotta spare time on my hands (and starting nail polish art wasn’t fully filling the time) and B) I read part of an article about how you can have romances in the game and I decided I wanted one! This definitely influenced my gameplay, as you can tell below.