The Products of Play:
'Caching' in on Game Play
This research project is about finding out exactly what it is that we do when we play digital games.
It's about investigating the values that we put on our experiences of video games and games-related play and culture.
It proposes to study the attitudes of Australian gamers and non-gamers towards the 'products of play', from our experiences and memories to our networks and friends, our game collections and play-based habits.
A heated Fruit Ninja duel between friends, image by Ethan Hein
smash the stereotypes
The persistent underlying message in news and popular media is that games and play are a "waste of time". The idea that gamers are all male, violent, addicted, lazy, foul-mouthed, couch potatoes, and that we value distraction over engaging is out of date and digital game play is too often and too easily characterised as being essentially unproductive. You can help change these attitudes and better inform our understanding of them.
Gamers and games players are not stereotypical couch potatoes. Image by Oddsock
This project proposes to identify what Australians value about their game play, what it is they do when then play video games, what it is they build, keep, share and why.
The primary aim of the project is to develop a survey that will research the productiveness of play and examine how gamers and non-gamers value the results and experiences of digital games.
The survey will investigate how gamers express themselves and their interests creatively through play and assist in determining whether such cultural products are of economic and historical significance.
Do you remember the first time you played a video game? What was it and why?
Mario Bros cosplay, image by Sam Howzit.
the cultural 'cache'
If we exceed the initial target, the aim is to use the further funds to design and build a cultural 'cache' for gamers to contribute their experiences first hand.
The purpose of the PlayCache will be to both celebrate and further research the contemporary phenomena of productive play in detail.
The PlayCache will be an evolving online archive to record, analyse and report on the digital game play habits of Australian gamers: from YouTube 'Let's Play' style videos to highlights from gamer blogs and podcasts, Twitter trends and hashtags, Facebook statuses and likes, screenshots from Flickr and Instagrammed photos of play, to Pinterest pinboards and game related memes via Reddit.
Everyone will be able to contribute directly to the PlayCache, to better inform our understanding of games and play, and to save the experiences of our games for future generations to appreciate and better understand.
A machinima adaptation of Geoffrey Chaucer's 'The Pardoner's Tale' from 'The Canterbury Tales, filmed in World of Warcaft by collaborating English Studies and Media and Communication undergraduates.
The initial funding goal of $4,445 for this campaign will enable the design, implementation, analysis and reporting on a survey of gamers and non-gamers who currently reside in Australia.
The main expenditure for the project of $4200 will fund 110 hours of research assistance distributed across six months developing, administrating and reporting the survey. Tasks include supporting the survey recruitment of relevant sample groups, (including random and non-random population samples), ethics administration, focus group design and implementation to assist in gaining an accurate survey instrument to discover that the values and attitudes that we as a nation apply to games and games play.
A digital copy of the initial report on this research and further publication of the findings through academic journals and/or book publications and public lectures will be available via the projects Facebook page.
All funds raised following our primary goal will go towards Phase Two of the project, building the digital games cultural archive, the PlayCache. Our project will hire talented web designers and programmers to code the digital tools required to access, record, collate and visualise the user-contributions via Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Reddit, Pinterest and other social media sites and services to assemble a real-time dynamic cultural archive.
The classic Game Boy Pokemon Red, image by Bryan Ochalla
supporting the project
You can support this project in a number of ways; any and all pledges will of course help, but you can also contribute by Tweeting about your games and game-based play experiences with the hashtag #playcache and sharing your stories, screenshots, achievements or opinions via the Products of Play: Play Cache Facebook site or email us directly to be a participant in the survey once we are go.
Thanks and Play On!