Here are some basic Journalistic questions about my approach to video games that could do with further understanding:
Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? So What?
If we take as the beginning of this analysis of video games an interest to draw upon local strengths (that is, things close to my physical location in Tas or Australia – so that it is reasonaly easy to secure interviews, data, etc), and communities and networks one is already tapped into (academic, social, etc) then what are some of the frameworks that we can set up?
If we just take the first of these, ‘Who,’ what can we begind to say?
The initial question cuold be “Who are active participants in the local Tasmanian video game community?” Is there a regional aspect here that this addresses, or can one still make extensions from the Hobart scene that could be extrapolated to any urban, developed setting?
There are game consumers, produsers, and producers (eg: Adam Walker Productions – Indie production based in Hobart?). There are good projects to consider around audiences and producers.
There are MMORPG gamers such as WoW players, there are gamers of ‘shrink-wraped’ games for consoles such PS3, XBox, Wii, etc, as well as those playing on mobile phones and other mobile devices.
There are also ways of breaking this down by gender, age, ethnicity, etc.
Who plays video games in Hobart? And is there something significant about identifying oneself as a gamer? There are terms such as hardcore and casual which have become increasingly popular ways of polarising the gamer in todays post-Wii game space. Some people reject this gamer identity saying that it is inaccurate and simplistic (just as calling some a reader or TV watcher is a simplistic and narrow way of defning smoeone.) And maybe that has something to it in this transmedia, cross-platform media space where in, when often ones media consumption/production spills into many mediums, or mediums are converged within one platform (the internet etc). Others however would strongly identify with the gamer identity and even take a political position regarding anti-censorship, anti-nanny state, etc in their language towards the governments stand on games classification, etc.
There are aspects of theory around subculture-identity, audience studies, fan-culture theory, which may be useful in unpacking this question of gamer identity.
Was there an issue/event from which this gamer identity began to crystalize? Was it the Wii and the alienation of the hard-core gamer? This seems to be an anchor that many gamers give when they are trying to order there definitions of being a gamer today, or when the issue of the gamer comes into play. But is this purely a sub-culture issue that is the realm of blogs and podcasts within the community. Are there mainstream media reports reinforcing this, picking up on this ordering of the term, gamer?
And we still have: What? Where? When? Why? How? So What? to consider.