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Hanging out in the game café: Contextualising co-located computer game play practices and experiences
Stockholms universitet, Institutionen för data- och systemvetenskap.
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

What social practices are people involved when staying in a game café? What kind of social setting is the game café? What are the attitudes towards playing computer games at home and in public among parents? What are the media representations of co-located game playing in public? What are the sensory experiences of playing co-located game play in public? This dissertation gives a descriptive and analytical account of the contexts and meanings of playing co-located computer games in public settings such as game cafés and LAN parties. The overall aim with the dissertation is to describe and investigate the social and cultural meanings and contexts of playing computer games in a game café. The research questions have been investigated in four empirical studies.

The dissertation shows that people are involved in various social practices and activities aimed at supporting and maintaining social relationships among friends and peers. The game café can be seen as a third place, as it used by players for recreation and an escape from the pressure of home and school, a place which feels like home, is familiar and welcoming. However the game café is a limited third place used by young men who likes to play online and network games. The dissertation also shows how the social environment provides for specific sensory experiences. These sensory experiences involve sitting together side by side slapping each other’s shoulders and legs, eating candies and drinking sodas, listening to music. The representations of co-located game playing in public reproduce traditional gender roles where professional gamers are represented by men and causal gamers are represented by women (and men) as well as construct youth as party lovers. The study also suggests that parents’ attitudes towards their children playing games in public draw on traditional values and ideas about children’s play and social relationships.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University , 2012. , 71 p.
Series
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 12-007
Keyword [en]
co-located game play, Game café, LAN party, game play experiences, public settings, senses
National Category
Computer and Information Science Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-20026ISBN: 978-91-7447-511-1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-20026DiVA: diva2:659340
Public defence
2012-05-30, sal C, Forum 100, Isafjordsgatan 39, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 4: Submitted. 

Available from: 2013-10-25 Created: 2013-10-25 Last updated: 2014-12-05Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. A public place of their own: A field study of a game café as a third place
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A public place of their own: A field study of a game café as a third place
2010 (English)In: Proceedings of DiGRA Nordic 2010: Experiencing Games: Games, Play, and Players, 2010, -8 p.Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This article investigates the meaning and function of the game café as a ‘Third place’ for boys and young men who play games in a game café. As there has been relatively little focus on game cafés in Western Europe as compared to studies of game cafés in Asia this paper examines the meaning and function of a game café in Sweden. This is achieved through an ethnographic study of a game café in central Stockholm. The author argues that the game café functions as a public place of their own. This means that for this group the game café is an escape from the moral judgments and parental restrictions and control at home. It also provides young men with a local hang out to maintain, negotiate and establish relationships with friends, peers and like minded through gaming. This place is a rather restricted third place which fosters interaction within a homogenous community of people of the same gender and age group. Therefore the game café shares more similarities with a sport club than a traditional café.

Keyword
Game café, third place, public places, online games, gameplay, young people
National Category
Information Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-20030 (URN)
Conference
First Nordic Digra August 16-17, 2010, Stockholm, Sweden
Available from: 2011-01-12 Created: 2013-10-25 Last updated: 2013-10-25Bibliographically approved
2. Sensing game play: Exploring game play in a game cafe and a Mass LAN party
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sensing game play: Exploring game play in a game cafe and a Mass LAN party
2011 (English)In: Computer Games (CGAMES), 2011, Piscataway, N.J.: IEEE Communications Society, 2011, 134-141 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this article we discuss the sensory experiences of playing computer games by exploring the sight, the sound, the taste, smell, and touch of games. We reflect on how senses and the social atmosphere gives meaning to players’ experiences of playing computer games in two co-located public settings, a game café and a mass LAN party. This discussion is related to a more general discussion concerning what it means to participate and play online and network games in a game café and a mass LAN party. The discussion is based on a field study in Sweden. We conclude by highlighting the different experiences of playing computer games and participating in those colocated game settings. In the game café playing computer games is a rather ordinary and mundane activity while playing games in the mass LAN party is to a large extent a sensational and extra ordinary event.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Piscataway, N.J.: IEEE Communications Society, 2011
Keyword
Sensoyr experiences of games, co-located game play settings, game cafe, public game play
National Category
Information Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-20029 (URN)10.1109/CGAMES.2011.6000328 (DOI)978-1-4577-1451-1 (ISBN)
Conference
16th International Conference on Computer Games (CGAMES), 27-30 July 2011, Louisville, KY
Available from: 2013-10-25 Created: 2013-10-25 Last updated: 2014-11-03Bibliographically approved
3. Senses Working Overtime: On Sensuous Experiences and Public Computer Game Play
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Senses Working Overtime: On Sensuous Experiences and Public Computer Game Play
2011 (English)In: Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology, 2011Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this article we will discuss players’ experience of computer games in terms of sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch. We discuss how senses shape and give meaning to players’ game play experiences in the game café and a mass LAN party. We also discuss how the social environments in which games are played impact on the experience of playing games. The data is drawn on a field study of public gameplay in a game café and a mass LAN party in Sweden. We conclude by highlighting that the social atmosphere is key to understanding public game play experiences.

Keyword
Senses, Co-located public game settings, Game café, Mass LAN
National Category
Information Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-20028 (URN)10.1145/2071423.2071493 (DOI)978-1-4503-0827-4 (ISBN)
Conference
The 8th International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology, Lisbon, Portugal, November 08-11, 2011
Available from: 2013-10-25 Created: 2013-10-25 Last updated: 2013-10-25Bibliographically approved
4. Go out and Play: The construction of public game play in a Swedish context
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Go out and Play: The construction of public game play in a Swedish context
(English)In: Convergence. The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, ISSN 1354-8565, E-ISSN 1748-7382Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

This study explores how co-located computer game play in public is valued and constructed by mass media, parents, and staff in a Swedish context. The article argues that by viewing co-located game playing in public as a youth leisure activity, we can reach a fuller understanding of the norms and values surrounding computer game playing as a social phenomenon. Data was collected through interviews with parents and staff and by analyzing articles in Swedish newspapers. Findings show that newspaper reports on game cafés and LAN parties construct game playing as a sport or fun. These constructions reproduce gender stereotypes. Parents’ attitudes towards public game play are both positive and negative and constructed around themes such as problematic or non problematic game playing. Staff and parent discourses on game playing reflect a wider concern reading leisure and youth, such as activities young people should be engaged in at their leisure.

Keyword
co-located game play, construction, norms, youth leisure, game café, LAN parties
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-20027 (URN)
Available from: 2012-04-27 Created: 2013-10-25 Last updated: 2013-10-25Bibliographically approved

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