Game pleasures and media practices
Elisenda Ardèvol (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores the concept of media practice through the everyday uses of new ICTs, focusing on videogames. This 'new media context' allow us to understand media practice from a transformative point of view that breaks down the division between production and consumption.
Paper long abstract:
This paper will explore the concept of media practice related to the social uses of the new technologies of information and communication in everyday life, focusing on a specific cultural form such as videogames. Videogames can be seen as an intersection of two different logics: narrative representation, characteristic of the audiovisual culture, and the pleasure of play, characteristic of the game culture. Playing videogames can be understood as an experience that involves media and non-media practices; that is, game experience is embedded within a media practice, transforming precedent forms of audiovisual pleasures. Videogames situate "play" at the core of the audiovisual experience, introducing innovative changes in the way audiovisual products are consumed and experienced. Thus, the "voyeuristic pleasure" of watching films or TV programs is substituted by an "immersion pleasure" coming from the articulation between audiovisual representation and subject agency and control. We understand media practices in the context of new media theories. With "new media" we don't necessarily refer to the "newest technologies" nor the "newest media forms": as some authors like P. David Marshall or Sonia Livingstone point out, new media can be understood as a new context of relation between traditional and emergent media forms, as a new scenario shaped by the convergence between different forms of audiovisual representation with digital and telecommunication technologies. The social and cultural changes that take place in the new media context are shaped by the way people use "media" for such different purposes as communicating with each other, working, voting, dating or playing. This "new media context" allow us to understand media practice from a transformative point of view that breaks down the division between production and consumption of cultural products, the model of emission/reception in communication theory and the spheres of public and private regarding broadcasting contents. Videogames are a key cultural form in order to understand the way media practices are related to significant social and embodied experiences such as playing and pleasure.