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Digitizing the Bedroom: Children’s Domestic Gaming as Consumption, Production, Subversion and Play

Presentation given at The Association for the Study of Play (TASP) Annual Conference, April 30, 2011
by

Sara Grimes

on 30 April 2011

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Transcript of Digitizing the Bedroom: Children’s Domestic Gaming as Consumption, Production, Subversion and Play

Digitizing the Bedroom Children’s Domestic Gaming as Consumption, Production, Subversion and Play Sara M. Grimes, PhD
sara.grimes@utoronto.ca
TASP Annual Conference, April 30, 2011 "UGC Games" Games & programs that provide tools and templates for "creating" levels, entire games.

"Creating" - from superficial customization to "nearly"-blank canvas


e.g. Sony/Playstation "LittleBigPlanet" 1 & 2:
combined: 5.5 million units sold (VGChartz, 2011)
over 4 million player-made levels (Sony, 2011) "Virtual Worlds" Immersive, persistant, GUI, multi-player online environments.

Increasing number designed specifically for kids (reportedly 200+ as of 2009).

Most revolve around play, gaming, make believe and social interactions Virtual Playgrounds Tools and spaces for kids to engage in peer play, collaborate and negotiate, share games and other creations on a large-scale & in a public forum.

Source of additional and emergent play forms (co-play, fan creations, provides new themes for playground games).

Democratization of digital games - kids can determine (at least some) of the contents; share their ideas, etc. Multiple Rule Systems Official game rules, codes of conduct

Legal/regulatory rules (e.g. COPPA)

Embedded rules (what the design allows/doesn't allow)

Community rules, household rules, etc.

Market rules (e.g. don't hurt the brand; privileging promotional content, etc.) Example: Limiting chat in VWs "You hereby grant us and our licensees, distributors, agents, representatives and other authorized users, a non-exclusive, irrevocable, fully-paid, royalty-free, sub-licensable and transferable (in whole or part) worldwide license for an indeterminate period...under all copyrights, trademarks, patents, trade secrets, privacy and publicity rights and other intellectual and industryial property rights you own or controlto use, reproduce,transmit, display....create derivative works based upon, perform and otherwise exploit such Submissions...." (Club Penguin, Terms of Use, 2011) Play as Property Play as Commodity Play as Labour Player interactions and submissions produce "intellectual property," claimed and exchanged (commoditized) by corporate entities.

Players produce value by providing community/play opportunities to other players (who pay for access).

Players "market" downloadable content, VIP memberships, pay-per-items to other players. Bedroom Culture Theory Same blurry lines between consumption, meaning-making, identity formation, cultural engagement, production and fandom.

From McRobbie & Garber's original treatise to contemporary adaptations (Lincoln, Steele, Kearney, etc.) Bedroom Productivity Calls for a move away from framing (girls') bedroom culture in "consumerist" terms.

Bedroom culture as site of productivity.

Media production made easy/more accessible through home computers/camcorders, ICTs, online distribution. Prosumption A fair use exception for play? Playing by the Rules Girls' play: long history of "blurry" categories.

Purposive activities geared toward teaching housework/domesticity and feminine ideals. Ill-defined boundaries between play/work, as well as public/private.

Highlights gender dimension of how play/leisure, work and everything in between are valued (or devalued) Histories of girls' play Subversive acts and dimensions = challenge the rules, power relations, "authority" & configurations

Reclaims a broader range of activities than "production" alone (mundane, incomplete, ephemeral, "destructive") Playing with the Rules Lister et al. (2003): "hybrid joinder of the positions of producer and consumer".

A key facet of prosumption is "distributed agency," cultural production through networked sociality - which displaces traditional notions of (individual, authoritative) "author." (Scratch) Important continuities between digital and non-digital play (multiple and messy categories)

Social and power relations
Configurations of ideal play/player
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