Gaming has always played a huge part in my life, and more recently I’ve really enjoyed online gaming, and the space that it creates. Everything online has that away but together aspect, and you can see that really well through online gaming. I might be playing by myself and then I’ll get a request from someone to help them with a raid and I’ll end up spending like 2 hours playing with that person that I don’t know, or I might simply be walking along in game and see a bunch of people having a dance party, so I’ll join in. For me online games have really just created a space for fun, a place where I can let my hair down, metaphorically speaking. It was this love of online gaming and the space that it creates that drove me to my research topic, looking at the way online gamers actually are in comparison to how they’re shown to be in the media.
Who and why?
I interviewed three people who where all online gamers, and all with slightly different experiences, and viewpoints. As well as my three interviewees I included my story and experience, as a practice of reflexivity, to show where I was coming from in carrying out this report/ storytelling piece.
I had initially planned on having a face to face interview with all of the people I talked to, but that plan fell through, with all of us either having uni assignments due, or working, a double whammy of Hagerstrand’s constraints . Meeting my interviewees was made even harder as even when I was free at the same time as one of them, I wasn’t able to get to them as I have no car. I ended up only having one face to face interview, and then I used the questions from that, and just sent it to them on Facebook. I had also planned on talking to another one of my friends, but unfortunately the combination of uni assignments and work meant that they had no free time to take part.
I decided to use my blog for this task for a few reasons. Firstly, it’s the format in which I’m the most comfortable writing in, and I’m also really starting to enjoy using my blog and seeing where I can take it. Secondly, I just thought the format would work well for the piece I wanted to create. Finally, I wanted to see feedback from those that read it, and get ideas for how I can improve, and also see if it works in showing the people behind online gaming.
I was surprised, looking at peoples answers, at how different some of our experiences have been, I can’t imagine me ever having to worry about people finding out my gender, and harassing me because of it, but that something Laura feels she needs to do to have fun while she’s playing, I’m curios as to if this is a common thing that females have to deal with, sadly I think it might be. I was sure there would be some overlap in all of our experiences with online gaming, but I wasn’t expecting all of us, to various extents, to see that the medias portrayal of online gamers is very much exaggerated.
Usefulness to the media industry
In a perfect world I would love to think that, from seeing these peoples stories that media would stop depicting online gamers in such an unrealistic manner, grouping a huge group of people and showing them all as this one caricature person. Realistically, I think that my project could show that online gamers make up a huge group of people that you can target as an audience. If one company/station whatever started creating content for that audience, and made an effort to be accurate with their depictions of gaming/gamers, they could potentially gain a huge following of loyal followers.
I really want to know if Laura’s experience with online gaming and the measures she has to take to be able to play the game without being harassed because of her gender, is a thing that a lot of female gamers go through. I think it’s important that we look into that issue, as females make up around half of the people playing, and that’s a lot of people.