Playing with(out) Power: Negotiated conventions of high performance networked play practices

Witkowski Emma Manning James
2017 DiGRA '17 - Proceedings of the 2017 DiGRA International Conference

In this paper, we explore how videogame ownership and notions of co-creation in videogames intersect with “high performance play” practices. From speedrunning communities to esports leagues, expert play cultures offer rich examples to consider the ongoing negotiations on the conventions of play itself, made through assemblages of creative forces, from performances (on and off screen, by players and spectators), ownership/governance (of the game, of third-party organisations and products), and through the expression of player rights. Via two cases, we look at how two veteran franchises (Counter-Strike and Super Mario) have engaged with the moving foundations and expressions of co-creation practices made by those engaged in high performance careers of play, specifically speedrunner GrandPOOBear and Counter-Strike esports Major tournament players, teams, and leagues.


Console Games in the Age of Convergence

Finn Mark
2002 Computer Games and Digital Cultures Conference Proceedings

In this paper, I discuss the development of the games console as a converged form, focusing on the industrial and technical dimensions of convergence. Starting with the decline of hybrid devices like the Commodore 64, the paper traces the way in which notions of convergence and divergence have infl uenced the console gaming market. Special attention is given to the convergence strategies employed by key players such as Sega, Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, and the success or failure of these strategies is evaluated.


Peep-boxes to Pixels: An Alternative History of Video Game Space

Sharp Philip
2007 DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play

“Peep-boxes to Pixels” offers an alternative cross-section of gaming history. Focusing on the dichotomous profiles of the video game arcade in the US and in Japan, the paper traces various cultural and technological planes as they scroll amongst each other in forming the collective zone we call an arcade today. This metaphor I extend by appropriating into my discourse a term that video games appropriated from astronomy: parallax. Of particular interest in this alternative history are the Dutch peep-boxes which, when introduced to Japan and given a pay-per-play cost, can be thought of as protoarcade games. However, these objects are generally mentioned in regards to a history of cinema. Why not a history of games? Certainly, peep-boxes, pointillism, penny arcades, pinball machines, pachinko and the pixels of Pac-man begin to interrelate as parallax once one weaves together the pedigree of their respective spaces. This paper asks a lot of questions. What does the respawning of fetishistic game historians leave behind? What cultural remnants have been blasted right past? What framework(s) made their debut in Japan so successful, and why should or shouldn't we be surprised that the Japanese arcade scene is so much more informed and vibrant than ours? (It is.) In looking at a history somewhat glitched and incongruent with the common offerings, I hope a more cosmopolitan cerebration may produce more interesting game content and more compelling places to play. The future of play may lie in the past.