Authored by: Dominic Arsenault

The Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415533324
eBook ISBN: 9780203114261
Adobe ISBN: 9781136290510


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The term “action” in the context of game studies refers to two distinct fields of inquiry. In the first, broadest sense, the study of action stems from a variety of fields such as the philosophy of action, cognitive psychology, and interaction design. Paul Ricoeur’s From Text to Action (1991), to name a single work, breaks down a “conceptual network of action” through five components: goal, agents, motives, circumstances, and cooperation. Accordingly, game studies scholars have examined the general processes, conditions, and modalities that govern the undertaking of actions by video game players. See, for instance, Aki Järvinen, here adapting Nico Frijda’s model of phasic emotions (Frijda, 1986):

[G]ameplay consists of phases that are analogous to those of the emotional process; there is recognition of something significant in the game in its present state, followed by the player’s appraisal of the situation and what to do. After that, the player proceeds to take actions within the rules, as action readiness transforms into concrete action.

(Järvinen, 2008, pp. 87–88)

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