From Trash to Treasure: Exploring how video games are moving from popular culture to cultural heritage

Eklund Lina
2022 DiGRA ’22 – Proceedings of the 2022 DiGRA International Conference: Bringing Worlds Together

Video games are now recognized as an important part of our culture and history. However, this redefinition of the cultural value of video games has received scant academic attention. In this paper I explore the transformation video games have, and are undergoing by: 1) drawing on the event of the first excavation searching for video game history in the Alamogordo Landfill in New Mexico and 2) interviews with collection and exhibition experts in charge of video games in two U.S. museums: MoMA, New York and MADE, Oakland. Results explore how video games have gone from trash to treasure as exemplified by the excavation of the 1982 Atari game E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. As video games enter museums they become valued using traditional western ideals on how cultural heritage is defined, based on ideals of age, materiality, monumentality, and aesthetics. Yet, the interactivity imperative of video games makes new evaluation structures relevant.


The strenuous task of maintaining and making friends: Tensions between play and friendship in MMOs

Eklund Lina Ask Kristine
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

This empirically driven study concerns the creation and maintenance of friendships in online gaming. Social interaction and community building are integral to online game-play, yet maintaining and making friends within a gaming context is not without its conflicts. Through analyses of interview data (n=52) combined from two research projects concerning MMO-gaming this study presents three ideal type portraits of gamers. The portraits illustrate different struggles of balancing friendships, a challenging game experience, and everyday-life. Specifically they look at the relationship between social design and social play; everyday-life and contexts of play; and ‘player burnout’, when players leave the game. Results emphasise how friendships and everyday-life constrains affect how we play, our preferences towards play, and who we play with online. The study concludes that maintaining and making friends in an online game can be a strenuous task limited by both a rational game structure and everyday-life.


Social Play? A study of social interaction in temporary group formation (PUG) in World of Warcraft

Eklund Lina Johansson Magnus
2010 DiGRA Nordic '10: Proceedings of the 2010 International DiGRA Nordic Conference: Experiencing Games: Games, Play, and Players

One of the main components and reasons for the success of the Massive Multiplayer Online Games genre (MMOG) is that these games are seen as arenas for social interaction. The focus of this paper is the phenomenon of “Pick up Groups” (PUGs), a neglected aspect of online gaming. How is the social interaction structured in these temporary groups? The results of a participant observation study reveal a low level of social interaction between PUG players. Communication is held to a minimum and dungeons completed at high speed. Even in the event of downtime, interaction is rare. What little interaction has been observed is divided into instrumental and sociable interaction. A higher level of sociable interaction was found when several players from the same guild played together in the same group. But looking at greetings and goodbyes, normally used to acknowledge an ongoing social situation, we see that the social engagement in most PUGs is low. In summary, social interaction in PUGs, if any, is mainly instrumental, making these temporary groups unsocial game experiences; something not normally associated with group play in the MMOG genre.