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In this talk the methodology of playographies – a visualization of playful experiences as part of qualitative biographic interviews – is introduced. Insights from my research on transformative playful experiences are provided.

Konstantin Mitgutsch

on 11 June 2012

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Transcript of Playographies

Konstantin Mitgutsch
Tracing Playograhies
Methods and Approaches to
Research Transformative Experiences in Video Games

Die Arbeitslosen von Marienthal (1933) "Marienthal: The Sociography of an Unemployed Community"
Narrative "Educational" Interview Project
University of Vienna
Carl Rogers (1902-1978)
Educational Studies
How to "talk" with people about their transformative experiences?
What are my research tools to approach learning in games?
Marie Jahoda, Paul Felix Lazarsfeld und Hans Zeise
How to measure "experiences"?
Narrative interviews are constructive
tools to "trace" meaningful experiences!
Learning on a
transformative level
implies the development of
new perspectives
on the world, others, and ourselves through the adjustment and
of old experience patterns and the development of new ones on their basis.
The word
undoubtedly denotes change of some kind. To say what kind of change is a
delicate matter
. (Bateson 1972, p. 283)
Buck 1989;
Mezirow 1996;
Kegan 2009;
Meyer-Drawe 2009;
Mitgutsch 2009;
Theory of Transformative Learning
Purposeful Games Research
How to approach mediated transformative experiences?
Mapping Media Experiences
(Mertens, 2008)
Analytical Information Horizon Maps
(Huvila, 2009).
How do players develop meaningful and transformative experiences through playing games?
After a short introduction, the interviewees are asked to draw a timeline and including
video games
that, looking back, appear most "meaningful" to them.
The more "meaningful" a game at a particular point of their lives was, the bigger they are asked to draw the bubble around the game’s name.
Step 1:
After drawing the timeline and the "meaningful game bubbles" the interviewees are asked to structure and divide their timeline into categories of their choice.
Step 2:
After structuring the timeline, the interviewees are asked to
their experiences and the
in detail .
They are asked to articulate reasons as to
the specific games appear
more "meaningful"
In the last step, they are asked to
choose one
experience that they considered to have the
most fruitful impact
on their life.
Step 3:
3 Examples:
“When the NES came out suddenly there was this shared community at school of other people … everybody had an Nintendo. So this became a
socializing component of my life
… like overnight”
“We moved and things got socially awkward – this is when games got more of an
insulating agent
than socializing agent…”
“and PC gaming
changed my entire perspective on video games
Doug Belshaw
Transformative Experiences in Video Games

Jonas Linderoth:
"An Ecological Approach to Games and Gameplay"
"individual trajectories of change are retained through all stages of analyses".
Findings refer to:
intra-case patterns of change
" (p.11)
A Method.
Olivia, 21, Student
"So.. I did not have a consistent number of friends. But my brother was always there.. so I was playing with him. And, you=know... beating him up and all those other things." [The brother] ... "was the one consistent thing"
games [laughs]. That one was definitely one...
‘cause, my brother and I were both into it.
I mean, it was really interesting watching

my brother and I would have approached the game...
Because. my brother would take one Pokémon and slam through the entire game. And I would take the game more slowly, by training up a set of Pokémon[...].
"And it really sort of made me aware of the different ways you could play games.
I think... that sort of reasoning made me more interested in these kind of games.
Like. 'Oh well... my brother and I played entirely different'."
There are different venues.
Like... just because I accepted this one model as my favorite, it does not mean that it is the only model to go about."
The players‘
, the biographic and social
to games action impacts the highly
meaningful play experience.
A meaningful pattern created through playing gets
de- and reconxtualized
within a more general understanding about the player herself and others.
be understood as a
single trajectory but as heterogeneous, historically, and culturally
contextualized phenomena
Technology and game design impact
and intra-case
patterns of change
Siegfried, 35
"It was like getting
games from the future
. I didn't know, that the NES games that I knew were technical inferior ports of more advanced games on more advanced hardware [...] So then when 1991 Ultima VII comes out, and it has graphics I have never seen, it seamed like a game from the year 2005...
to my mind at that time.
" ...
I was completely blown away. I had also never seen games that were aimed at adults... that had
adult content
and were not censored [...]. Ultima looks and sounds like Final Fantasy but it's opened... This sense of a dense fictional world that is just a matter of fact ...and there. That doesn't make you do anything and is just opened for you to interact with but with this enormous amount of narrative density to it...
This game is the game
"And then the same with Settlers of Catan.
I was.. I moved to this new country.
I did not know anyone
and then there are these people that were really nice and I ended up being friends with them.
And the
way we were friends is we had game nights
At least once a week. If not twice a week. And we'd rotate..."
“It’s interesting, I guess all of these games are... games that I play with other people. That's something that ties all of them together. There's always somebody else involved."
Sarah, 21
in the space provided by the
and the
"That was that formative periode... I was
with a lot of
different approaches
. And the one that really works for me is this {playing}.
And I am about to do another move... and the one thing that I keep thing of is: 'I am moving to this City. I don't know anybody.
I want=to have a game night and make friends.
can be used as

to tackle

in "real" life context. Thus, the players need to
these experience patterns and put them in
The limits:
The potential:
Kegan, 2009, p. 43
Not standardizable
Histories change
Different forms of transfer
Explicit experiences
Door opener
Enjoyable exercise
Taps into subjective viewpoints
Unpacks context and subjectivity
Adoptable and adujstable
... under construction
The podacst to this talk can be accessed here: http://cmsw.mit.edu/podcast-konstantin-mitgutsch-tracing-playographies/
{E.g. places they lived in, educational phases, types of consoles in use...}
Full transcript