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A public place of their own: A field study of a game café as a third place
Stockholms universitet, Institutionen för data- och systemvetenskap.
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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. -8 p.
Keyword [en]
Game café, third place, public places, online games, gameplay, young people
National Category
Information Systems
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-20030OAI: diva2:659350
First Nordic Digra August 16-17, 2010, Stockholm, Sweden
Available from: 2011-01-12 Created: 2013-10-25 Last updated: 2013-10-25Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Hanging out in the game café: Contextualising co-located computer game play practices and experiences
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hanging out in the game café: Contextualising co-located computer game play practices and experiences
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.
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 12-007
co-located game play, Game café, LAN party, game play experiences, public settings, senses
National Category
Computer and Information Science Sociology
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-20026 (URN)978-91-7447-511-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-05-30, sal C, Forum 100, Isafjordsgatan 39, 13:00 (English)

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

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