Player perspectives: what it means to be a gamer
The term gamer has been applied in various, often simplistic ways to anyone who plays video games as a preferred leisure activity. Being heavily value-laden both socially and culturally, the term has spawned fiery debates on a variety of issues ranging from perpetuation of stereotypes to gender inequality. This paper seeks to understand the gamer tag by charting and critically analysing the gaming journeys of three video game players in an everyday context.
The paper uses an ethnographic approach, based on in-depth interviews with and observation of the gaming activity of three individuals over a year. Drawing from Nick Couldry’s Media as Practice approach the gaming practices of the players were examined in relation to how they themselves reflect upon their experience and its various components, and the ways in which they construct and express their gamer/gaming identity. The emergent themes from the analysis have been used to build a tentative framework that could enable a more holistic understanding of the gamer within the gaming world and more generally in popular culture.