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Professional vision in co-located computer gaming
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

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.

National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-70853OAI: diva2:442123
Available from: 2011-09-20 Created: 2011-09-20 Last updated: 2011-09-20Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Gaming Interaction: Conversations and Competencies in Internet Cafés
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gaming Interaction: Conversations and Competencies in Internet Cafés
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Spelinteraktion : Samtal och Kompetenser på Internetcaféer
Abstract [en]

The dissertation analyzes interaction in adolescents’ computer gaming. Through the use of video recordings in internet cafés, players’ communicative practices are illuminated. Ethnomethodological and interaction analytical perspectives are used to explicate the participants’ methods for meaning-making in the gaming. The aim of the thesis is to investigate how this co-located interaction sets conditions for game playing as a social activity. The dissertation contains four empirical studies. The first addresses the semiotic resources that the players use in collaborative gaming. It shows how gaming activities involve configurations of semiotic resources that are only available in co-located gaming, such as pointing at the screen or rotating your body towards coplayers. In the second study, the players’ use of so called professional vision is analyzed. Experienced players instruct and discipline a novice’s vision by demonstrating how the interface is connected to the rules of the game. In situations with two experienced players, visual aspects of the game can be used to question other players’ competence, by pointing out, for example, what should be visible to them. The visual aspects of the game are thereby made relevant by the players when one of them has acted contrary to conventional practice. The third study addresses the strategies that players use for highlighting their own competence and questioning their coplayers’. In this way the players create local hierarchies, and in the community of practice in internet cafés there are clear elements of exclusion and competiveness. In the final study the relevance of blame for the gaming practices is examined. Blame is used both for highlighting the player’s own competence, at the expense of another player’s, and for enabling a joint analysis “game exegesis”, in which the causal structures of the gaming are examined by the players. The dissertation shows how a player’s competence is constituted out of action both on the screen and in the gamers’ joint, co-located interactions. Their possibilities for positioning themselves in the social community of gaming are conditioned, not only by their in-game skills, but also by their ability to use the communicative resources that the co-located gaming affords.

Abstract [sv]

Avhandlingen behandlar interaktion i ungdomars datorspelande. Med hjälp av videoinspelningar gjorda på internetcaféer belyses några sätt på vilka spelarna kommunicerar med varandra. Etnometodologiska och interaktionsanalytiska perspektiv används för att analysera deltagarnas metoder för att skapa förståelse i och kring spelandet. Avhandlingens syfte är att undersöka hur denna samlokaliserade interaktion skapar förutsättningar för spelandet som social aktivitet. Avhandlingen består av fyra delstudier. Den första behandlar de semiotiska resurser som spelarna använder sig av i kollaborativt spelande. Den visar på hur spelaktiviteter involverar resurser som  bara finns tillgängliga i samlokaliserat spelande, så som att peka på skärmen eller rotera kroppen mot medspelarna. I studie nummer två analyseras spelarnas användning av specialiserat seende (professional vision). Erfarna spelare kan instruera och disciplinera novisers seende genom att synliggöra hur gränssnittet är sammankopplat med spelets regler. I situationer med två erfarna spelare kan visuella aspekter av spelet användas för att ifrågasätta en annan spelares kompetens, genom att exempelvis påpeka vad som borde vara synligt för spelaren. Spelets visuella aspekter blir alltså relevanta för spelarna främst då någon av dem agerat i strid med idéer och normer för spelandet. Den tredje delstudien behandlar interaktionsmetoder som spelarna använder sig av för att framhäva sin egen kompetens och ifrågasätta sina medspelares. Genom dessa skapar spelarna lokala hierarkier, och i den praktikgemenskap som datorspelandet på internetcaféer utgör finns tydliga inslag av exklusion och konkurrens. I den sista delstudien undersöks de funktioner som beskyllningar har i spelandet. Dessa används både för att framhäva spelarens egen kompetens på någon annans bekostnad, men öppnar också upp för gemensam analys, vad som här kallas ”spel-exeges”, där spelets kausala struktur blottläggs. Avhandlingen visar hur spelares kompetens konstitueras av handlingar både på skärmen och i spelarnas gemensamma, samlokaliserade interaktion. Deras möjligheter för positionering i det sociala sammanhang som spelandet utgör utgår alltså inte bara ifrån deras färdigheter i spelet, utan också ifrån deras förmåga att utnyttja de kommunikativa resurser som det samlokaliserade spelandet erbjuder.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2011. 95 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 545
Computer gaming, interaction, ethnomethodology, peer group, informal learning, identity, competence, internet café, Datorspelande, interaktion, etnometodologi, kamratgrupp, informellt lärande, identitet, kompetens, internetcafé
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-70857 (URN)978-91-7393-062-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-10-14, TEMCAS, Hus T, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2011-09-20 Created: 2011-09-20 Last updated: 2012-10-18Bibliographically approved

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