Gamers’ Games: Narratives of conflict, independence and engagement in video game culture

Ruffino, Paolo. 2015. Gamers’ Games: Narratives of conflict, independence and engagement in video game culture. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

Text (Gamers’ Games: Narratives of conflict, independence and engagement in video game culture)
MED_thesis_RuffinoP_2015.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (4MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

In this dissertation I look at various ways in which the relation between gamers and games has been discussed in video game culture in recent years. Gamers and games are currently being positioned by many scholars and industry experts as experiencing a series of major changes. From one perspective, gamers are said to be getting more and more access to the means of production of video games. Video games, in turn, are frequently analysed in terms of the effects they can have on their users. I argue that the discourses surrounding these phenomena have the effect of reinforcing the separation between gamers and games, considering both terms as separate and distinct entities. Throughout this dissertation I offer a series of readings of the relationship between the two, of how this relationship is currently being discussed by various actors and of how it could be narrated otherwise. I look at the narratives about the historical origins of both gamers and games, the conflicts between consumers and publishers, the production of independent games and the use of games for doing things. Drawing on deconstruction (Derrida 1976, 1980, 1985, 1988) and cultural and media studies scholarship, I interrogate the mechanisms behind many of the stories surrounding the contaminated and parasitical relations (Serres 1982) between gamers and games, whereby both categories are seen as emerging from the process of boxing consumers and products into discrete entities. I offer a reading of contemporary video game culture through a study that aims to encourage all of us who study and play (with) games to raise ethical questions for our own role in shaping the objects of research and for our involvement in the discourses we produce, as both gamers and scholars. What is ultimately at stake in this project is the possibility of outlining an alternative mode of thinking about the medium of the video game, one that blurs the distinction between studying, playing, making and living with video games through the invention of narratives about the unresolved relations (Laclau and Mouffe 1985) between gamers and games.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Media and communications, Cultural Studies, Video Game Culture, Independent Games, Gamification, Hacking, Media archaeology, Creativity, Performativity, Deconstruction

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


31 December 2015

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

04 Feb 2016 16:26

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:14


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)