Digital gameplay is enacted across many social platforms that can be described as affinity spaces, meaning informal learning environments where players share resources and knowledge. This article examines the ways that a young gamer stitches together several different spaces to play Minecraft. Our study focuses on the play of a single participant, collecting ethnographic data about how he enacts play across several different technologies as both a player and a server administrator. We find that Skype serves as the primary technology that enables gameplay between other spaces (e.g., building a server, playing on that server, and recording gameplay to upload onto YouTube). Relatedly, Skype’s prominence as a communication technology causes some difficulties with backgrounding personal identities during gameplay. Our findings show how everyday interactions in gaming spaces are carried out across affinity spaces and the implications that networked play has for access to the learning opportunities inherent in play.
Games and Culture: A Journal of Interactive Media – SAGE
Published: Jul 1, 2018
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