Playing with the Rules: Social and Cultural Aspects of Game Rules in a Console Game Club


DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play
The University of Tokyo, September, 2007
Volume: 4
ISBN / ISNN: ISSN 2342-9666

In this study of a Swedish console game club I have looked at how the rules of the games are connected to the social and cultural aspects of the context that the games are played in. I have devoted special attention to the game Super Smash Bros. Melee and how different contexts of play have formed around this game, for instance the emergence of a professional smash scene and the polarization of console club members into smashers and anti-smashers. My conclusion is that the idea that rules can play a core role in defining a game without the need to take the situated aspects of play into account is problematic. Rules do not inherently belong to the formal aspects of games. Even at the most fundamental level, rules are influenced by, and affect, the social and cultural aspects of the gaming context.