Fusing Quantitative and Qualitative Methods in Virtual Worlds Behavioral Research

Symborski Carl Jackson Gary M. Barton Meg Cranmer Geoffrey Raines Byron Quinn Mary Magee Pearce Celia
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

In this study, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and Georgia Institute of Technology (GT) developed a quantitative-qualitative mixed methods research technique to investigate the extent to which real world characteristics of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) players can be predicted based on the characteristics and behavior of their avatars. SAIC used three primary assessment instruments to quantitatively rate videos of participant gameplay sessions, while GT produced detailed qualitative descriptions of avatar activities and behavior. Automated textual analysis was then used to identify conceptual themes across all of the descriptions produced by the qualitative team. Using the themes generated by the automated textual analysis in combination with the quantitative variables, we were able to demonstrate the efficacy of the hybrid method for the prediction of real world characteristics from avatar characteristics and behavior.


The Hegemony of Play

Fron Janine Fullerton Tracy Morie Jacquelyn Ford Pearce Celia
2007 DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play

In this paper, we introduce the concept of a “Hegemony of Play,” to critique the way in which a complex layering of technological, commercial and cultural power structures have dominated the development of the digital game industry over the past 35 years, creating an entrenched status quo which ignores the needs and desires of “minority” players such as women and “non-gamers,” Who in fact represent the majority of the population. Drawing from the history of pre-digital games, we demonstrate that these practices have “narrowed the playing field,” and contrary to conventional wisdom, have actually hindered, rather than boosted, its commercial success. We reject the inevitability of these power structures, and urge those in game studies to “step up to the plate” and take a more proactive stance in questioning and critiquing the status of the Hegemony of Play.


“Some Assembly Required”: Starting and Growing a Game Lab [Abstracts]

Flanagan Mary Pearce Celia
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

This panel will present case studies of four different game laboratories, exploring the uses of the lab as a research venue and as part of a game or digital media curriculum. The examples will focus on game labs in Humanities departments, where the use of laboratories as a resource is less common.


Theory Wars: An Argument Against Arguments in the so-called Ludology/Narratology Debate

Pearce Celia
2005 DiGRA '05 - Proceedings of the 2005 DiGRA International Conference: Changing Views: Worlds in Play

This paper offers an alternative to the agonistic debate presented by Gonzalo Frasca in “Ludologists Love Stories Too,” in Level Up, DiGRA 2003 Conference Proceedings (Frasca, 2003). While Frasca’s position is that the ludology/narratology debate is spurious and fraught with misunderstandings, his paper simultaneously succeeds in deepening the gap by further polarizing the alleged two sides of a debate that, in Frasca’s words, “never took place.” Furthermore, the paper adds to the misunderstandings by further mis-labeling, mis-quoting and decontextualizing some of the points made by others. In this paper, I argue that there is little value in polarizing scholars into two “camps,” even if one is doing so in an attempt to bridge the gap. As some of the scholars quoted by Frasca (some of whom I will refer to here) have pointed out, the argument is neither interesting nor productive. It begins to sound more like a theological argument than a deep form of discourse—somewhat like saying “communists love capitalism too.” The very act of bestowing the suffix “-ist” is a kind of spell-casting exercise that only serves to reinforce the so-called false polarity that Frasca attempts to critique. And in fact, I am certain that a number of scholars who have been been grouped into the referenced camps—myself among them—would prefer not to be classified in either camp, but be allowed to move freely across the spectrum if ideas that lie between play and narrative without being forced to take a “position” on either end.