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Disappointing and Being Disappointed: Video Game Player Trust in Each Other
University of California, Irvine, United States of America
Hostility in video games has been a cause for concern since multiplayer gaming began gaining popularity. Many of the studies conducted on this topic have highlighted negative behaviors as particularly aggressive toward women, but relatively limited in the broad context of general audiences or in contrast to positive multiplayer encounters . This study uses interviews with 54 people and approximately 1900 online forum posts to further investigate player experiences with and understandings of hostility in video game play. Overall, it appears that female players do experience particular kinds of harassment, but that players have been negatively influenced and affected by these types of behavior regardless of gender. Largely, players have begun to feel like they cannot feel comfortable in these spaces or necessarily trust other players to behave in positive ways. For both male and female players, this has led to many avoiding certain types of game or specific titles all together. Additionally, players lack confidence that companies are doing what is necessary to shift the culture and have come to understand toxic players as something to be expected in the community. Because of its frequency, toxicity has become understood as a part of gaming culture and something that, perhaps, is immutable.
2:20pm - 2:40pm
CAN YOU TRUST A LEAKY ARCHIVE? HISTORY LESSONS FROM ROBOTS AND ZOMBIES
Megan Sapnar Ankerson
University of Michigan, United States of America
Traditional institutional archives have long been regarded as the gold standard of historical evidence: trusted, authoritative, repositories of primary sources that serve as direct firsthand evidence of events and people from the past. These assumptions were challenged with the “archival turn” of the late 20thcentury, influencing both humanities and social science research. This paper turns to the internet as a key site to observe how new archival epistemologies, ways of collecting and making sense of “historical records,” are transforming ideas around trust, evidence, and history. What changes when archives become automated and algorithmic? Should automatically generated archives be regarded as more trustworthy because they route around the inevitable politics of human selection bias? Or do they point to new archival epistemologies that represent changing knowledge practices under new material conditions? Combining feminist technoscience studies, discourse analysis, and software studies, this paper offers a material-semiotic analysis of the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine suggesting that the figures we encounter there—zombies, robots, and time machines—might actually help us grapple with the links between new forms of historical recordkeeping and the diminishing sense of trust in the internet era. Specifically, I turn to zombies as a way to illuminate new relationships between liveness and archives; robots as a way to examine how principles like modularity, automation and variability are shifting the archival imagination; and time machines as a way to underscore the importance of studying language and metaphor in tandem with the design of knowledge systems.
2:40pm - 3:00pm
Making time in video game production
University College London, United Kingdom
Critiques of working conditions in video games production have focused on problematic experiences of temporality, resulting from long hours and short contracts. Whilst these ways of formulating the temporal politics of the game sector have proved helpful in raising questions of temporal control and subordination, they have not led to more expansive analyses of ongoing differentiated temporal structures in game production and desired and desirable structures for working time. This paper will present findings from an ethnographic study of a UK-based video game studio and identify contrasting experiences of time, drawing on the sociology of work and Deleuzian categories of temporality to differentiate between experiences of chronology, teleology and aesthetic suspension. The aim is to contribute to formulations of desirable work time which acknowledge but also extend beyond ‘work-life balance’ and temporal autonomy, and attend to the specific material conditions of game production.