Sociology of the Video Gamer

Recently I have been thinking about video games.  I love gaming, and used to engage in it quite frequently prior to starting my PhD.  The last game I completed (on my laptop) was Batman: Arkham City and I have been occasionally dropping into Fall Out: New Vegas.  Occasionally.  As I lurch ever-closer to something like the end, I find my trigger fingers itching to play some of the more recent releases, like Bioshock Infinite, or future ones like the next Fall Out.

Anyway, the video above is effectively a ‘live book review’ of Garry Crawford‘s recent book Video Gamers (2011).  This promises to be a fascinating look at at the video gamer in context, from a sociological perspective, rather than from the more usual digital/games research perspectives that concentrate on things like player experience, HCI, and the tech involved in gaming.  Given the relative scarcity of good sociological work in this area, Crawford’s book is a welcome addition.  I have ordered it for later perusal.

Elias, I’m told, used to recommend that students and practitioners research topics or areas that they are genuinely interested in themselves-which is where Eliasian approach to the sociology of sport came from.  The field of digital games  may be an interesting site for future research for some of us, given the ‘gamification’ of so many aspects of contemporary life.

Some info from the Vimeo site is below.

Enjoy! JH

Think Design Play, 5th DiGRA conference
hosted by Utrecht School of the Arts

Video Gamers
Live Book Review of Video Gamers by Garry Crawford
(15 september 2011)

The field of games research has several different foci, one of them being the activity of game players. The new title, ‘Video Gamers’ by Garry Crawford (Published August 2nd 2011 by Routledge), claims to be “the first book to explicitly and comprehensively address how digital games are experienced and engaged with in the everyday lives, social networks, and consumer patterns of those who play them”. This Live Book Review is a keynote interview session by Frans Mäyrä, where Garry Crawford will be asked to introduce his book, the rationale behind this project, and how he intends this volume to contribute to the field of game studies.

Garry Crawford is a Cultural Sociologist at the University of Salford in the UK. His research and teaching focus primarily on audiences and consumers, and in particular, sport fans and video gamers. He has published numerous works, including the books: Video Gamers (2011), Online Gaming in Context(2011, edited with V.K. Gosling & B. Light), The Sage Dictionary of Leisure Studies (2009, with T. Blackshaw), Introducing Cultural Studies (2008, with B. Longhurst, G. Smith, G. Bagnall & M. Ogborn), and Consuming Sport(2004). His work on video gamers seeks to understand gaming culture away from the sight of a games machine, and consider video games within the complex flows and patterns of everyday life.

Frans Mäyrä is the Professor of Hypermedia, Digital Culture and Game Studies in the University of Tampere, Finland. He is the head of University of Tampere Game Research Lab, and has taught and studied digital culture and games from the early 1990s. His research interests include game cultures, meaning making through playful interaction, online social play, borderlines, identity, as well as transmedial fantasy and science fiction.