Our case study – a session of videogame play in which both the players (ourselves) and the screen action are video-recorded – is littered with moments of confusion over the game’s expectations both at the level of the controls and at the level of overall progression through the game. The notion that videogames are ‘learning machines’ is a familiar one (Provenzo, Gee) and our case study offers many examples of the ways in which we as players learn how to play this particular game. Our hypothesis though is that conventional assumptions that players learn the game system to achieve mastery over it – and that this mastery is the source of the prime pleasure of gameplay – is in fact an inversion of the dynamics and pleasures of videogame play. Games configure their players, allowing progression through the game only if the players recognize what they are being prompted to do, and comply with these coded instructions. The analysis of the pleasures of gameplay must take the respective agencies of the players and the game technologies as central, as well as those between players and the game.
|Title of host publication||Computer gaming: essays on cultural history, theory and aesthetics|
|Editors||M. Swalwell, J. Wilson|
|Place of Publication||Jefferson, USA|
|Publisher||McFarland & Co|
|Number of pages||20|
|Publication status||Published - 1 May 2008|