Managing to play: the everday lives of adult videogame consumers.

Molesworth, M., 2009. Managing to play: the everday lives of adult videogame consumers. Doctorate Thesis (Doctorate). Bournemouth University.

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Abstract

Against a backdrop of videogame producers keen to promote themselves as a 'serious' adult entertainment industry, and persistent media reports on the 'dangers' of videogame play, this research examines the lived experiences of adult videogame players. I start with aconsideration of the nature of play and of consumption in order to assess the ways in whichour consumer society may be seen as becoming more playful, or experiential. I also consider the development of key discourses on videogame use and in particular the problematic waysin which we understand real, virtual and digital spaces. These theoretical contexts provide a background against which I consider a phenomenology of adult videogame consumption. Drawing from extended discussions with 24 adult videogame players I review: the biographical and domestic contexts in which adults play videogames; the various practices that they develop relating to buying, owning and using videogames, and; the nature of experiences produced through play. Adults may have started playing videogames as a result of an educational agenda, or peer pressure whilst as school, but may have continued playing intermittently into adulthood and now find that friends, and especially family influence how and what they play. As a result they have developed a variety of practices that I describe in detail including managing the amount of time and money spent on games and negotiating spaces to play. Within these contexts players aim for 'ideal' experiences of skill and achievement, of escape though the management of their imagination, and of social interaction with family and friends. However these largely positive experiences need to be carefully managed against a risk that their behaviour may be seen as childish, and against the potential for play to cause disruption to work or domestic life. Following these detailed first-person descriptions I consider the 'discourses in practice' during the use of videogames. I note the persistent framing of videogame play as frivolous, but also the way in which games are used to manage everyday life by providing a space that is an escape from routines of work and family life and in particular a space in which the imagination may be actualised. In doing so I also consider the transformatory potential of videogames, concluding that although they may be seen to serve a conservative role, and may be critiqued as part of an over-experienced, yet'futile' life, their ability to aid the management of everyday life is significant.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctorate)
Additional Information:A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of Bournemouth University for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Subjects:Social Sciences > Communication, Cultural and Media Studies
Group:Media School
ID Code:11994
Deposited By:Mrs Jill Burns
Deposited On:28 Oct 2009 16:37
Last Modified:07 Mar 2013 15:16

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