Video Games

Authored by: James Ash

The Ashgate Research Companion to Media Geography

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409444015
eBook ISBN: 9781315613178
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042822

10.4324/9781315613178.ch7

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Abstract

Video games are a fundamentally spatial medium. Whether playing a puzzle game on an iPhone or a Strategy game on a PC, upon picking up a controller one manipulates objects or moves through predesigned locations and spaces of some sort. However, little work has been undertaken that seriously considers space as a basic element of what video games are (exceptions include Nitsche 2009 and Borries et al. 2007). While the terms space and place are often used when discussing different games, there is almost no explicit reflection on what these terms might mean, or how video-game spaces are different or similar to other technological or mediated spaces. This is strange given the broad variety of disciplines that have studied games. As Malaby and Burke (2009) point out, video games have been studied by writers from a range of perspectives, including new media (Dovey and Kennedy 2006; Hjorth 2011), English literature (Aitkins 2003; 2007), game studies (Calleja 2011; Juul 2004), and cultural studies (Egenfeldt-Nielsen et al. 2008), using a range of theoretical perspectives such as psychoanalysis (Spittle 2011), phenomenology (Crick 2011), and postcolonial theory (Allen 2011). These perspectives have been complimented through a variety of qualitative and quantitative research methods including ethnography (Nardi 2010), video ethnography (Giddings 2009; Ash 2010), questionnaires (Quandt et al. 2011), and interviews (Kelly 2004).

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