To play computer games means engaging in an enterprise that is predominantly based on visual information. Games that exclude visual information can be considered experimental and exotic. Games utilize visual means so as to convey information to the player in several ways. In, for instance, World of Warcraft, graphics are used to depict a virtual world, including players’ avatars and computer-controlled opponents. The game displays text and numbers to the player, and the interface contains buttons and cursors that are used to interact with the game. To a novice or non-player, the information might seem complex and opaque. Yet, somehow, players are able to manage these interfaces and progress in the games. That which to a novice appears as a jumble of text, numbers, animations and movements is a familiar environment for the skilled player. In the normal case, the skilled player has no need either to dwell or reflect upon the meaning and significance of the game world or the interface of the game; rather, he has to engage with it, move through it and act in it. Expertise in game play can be exhibited in the ways a player successfully negotiates this terrain of the game world. In co-located gaming, players have to skilfully manage the integration of various semiotic resources in order to act in coordinated ways within the games. The relative importance of these modalities is contingent upon the situation at hand, and of the temporal order of the game.
The aim of this article is to elucidate some of the ways in which the visualaspects of a computer game show up as publicly available phenomena n-andthrough the playing of it. This article deals with both how players acquire perceptual expertise, and of issues of how they are accountable for having acquired these skills. In a broad sense, this study explicates players’ engagement in the “education of attention”. Grasseni describes this as “[…] a relational and contextual process that shapes specific skills of perception, relation and cognition, which are in turn instrumental to justify and reproduce specific contexts of action”. In the present study, this means analyzing how instructing vision builds on and establishes appropriate and “correct” ways of behaviour in local gaming communities.