Shooting Star: A view on children, first-person shooters and gameplay craftsmanship

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This article is based on a three year long ethnographic study of various gameplayers’ gameplay activities and experiences across different onscreen-offscreen gameworlds. The study was carried out using an amalgamation of grounded theory method, remix methods, interpretative ethnography and visual methodologies. The article will, through the application of such methods, focus on one of the study’s main participants, nine year old Fenja, and on one of her everyday gaming practices; playing the first-person shooter Battlefield 3 together with her father. Accordingly, the article follows Fenja as she struggles to construct a first-person shooter identity by way of her onscreen-offscreen interaction as she fights alongside and against her father who is an expert first-person shooter. The inquiry takes as its starting point the jubilant exclamation of Fenja as she one evening comes rushing downstairs and into the living room shouting ‘Mom! Mom! I shot dad!’
The article then critically examines the views some research and journalism adopt. That is, whether this exclamation is coming from a trigger-happy gun-slinger in the making; a desensitized tween; or a child who has lost the ability to discriminate between reality and onscreen fictionality. And then proceeds by asking whether a different explanation might be possible if we begin to seriously consider the role of the gameplayer’s body in learning to play and the role of corporeal-locomotive gameplay in embodied gameplay activity and experience. Maybe being a tween in Battlefield 3 is more about the performance of gameplay craftsmanship than it is about violence-prone gundown?
Original languageEnglish
Publication year13 Jun 2013
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2013
Event12th Nordic Youth Research Symposium: Changing Societies and Cultures: Youth in the Digital Age - Tallinn University, Tallinn, Estonia
Duration: 12 Jun 201314 Jun 2013

Conference

Conference12th Nordic Youth Research Symposium
LocationTallinn University
CountryEstonia
CityTallinn
Period12/06/201314/06/2013

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