Video gaming as practical accomplishment: ethnomethodology, conversation analysis and play

Reeves, Stuart, Greiffenhagen, Christian and Laurier, Eric (2016) Video gaming as practical accomplishment: ethnomethodology, conversation analysis and play. Topics in Cognitive Science, 9 (2). pp. 308-342. ISSN 1756-8765

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Accounts of video game play developed from an ethnomethodological and conversation analytic (EMCA) perspective remain relatively scarce. This paper collects together an emerging, if scattered, body of research which focusses on the material, practical ‘work’ of video game players.

The paper offers an example-driven explication of an EMCA perspective on video game play phenomena. The materials are arranged as a ‘tactical zoom’. We start very much ‘outside’ the game, beginning with a wide view of how massive-multiplayer online games are played within dedicated gaming spaces; here we find multiple players, machines and many different sorts of activities going on (besides playing the game). Still remaining somewhat distanced from the play of the game itself, we then take a closer look at the players themselves by examining a notionally simpler setting involving pairs taking part in a football game at a games console. As we draw closer to the technical details of play, we narrow our focus further still to examine a player and spectator situated ‘at the screen’ but jointly analysing play as the player competes in an online first-person shooter. Finally we go ‘inside’ the game entirely and look at the conduct of avatars on-screen via screen recordings of a massively multiplayer online game.

Having worked through specific examples, we provide an elaboration of a selection of core topics of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis that are used to situate some of the unstated orientations in the presentation of data fragments. In this way, recurrent issues raised in the fragments are shown as coherent, interconnected phenomena. In closing, we suggest caution regarding the way game play phenomena have been analysed in the paper, while remarking on challenges present for the development of further EMCA oriented research on video game play.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Reeves, S., Greiffenhagen, C. and Laurier, E. (2016), Video Gaming as Practical Accomplishment: Ethnomethodology, Conversation Analysis, and Play. Top Cogn Sci. doi:10.1111/tops.12234 which has been published in final form at . This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Keywords: Ethnomethodology, Conversation analysis, Video games
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Computer Science
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2016 11:35
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 18:19

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