Researching Players to Understand the Game
Chapter, Peer reviewed
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Original versionIn: Iversen, S. M. (ed.), The [Player] Conference Proceedings, August 26.-29. 2008, IT-University of Copenhagen: 197-219
Since the advent of the study of games, scholars have emphasised the idea of games as subsets of the real world, as make-believe and as representational systems. Games have been understood as delimited from the real world by a physical and conceptual boundary that clearly defines what should be understood as part of the game. Players enter and leave the game at will, voluntarily accepting the rules of the game when entering the game subspace, and there is no doubt that players are fully capable of knowing when they cross this boundary, and when they should interpret a specific action as part of the game or not. This paper asks how researchers can investigate the player’s comprehension of the relationship between a game and the world methodologically by the use of qualitative approaches. The motivation for the paper is a postdoctoral research project facing precisely these issues, and the paper serves as a work in progress for developing a qualitative research method for investigating player’s understanding of system features, interface elements and what constitutes the game border in computer games. The paper will present the aims of the postdoctoral research project and shortly describe its hypotheses and theoretical points of departure before going on to discuss and suggest methods for investigating these hypotheses.