Language-GAME-Players: Articulating the pleasures of ‘violent’ game texts


  • Gareth Richard Schott University of Waikato, NZ


Young peoples’ voices have been considered irrelevant or unreliable when it comes to discussing the influence and impact of their engagement with screen-mediated depictions of violence. Historically, such viewpoints have been derived from the controlled experimentation of modernist psychology, which constitutes the most sustained and prominent enquiries into the consequences of individual participation in, and viewing of, simulated violence. In espousing an impersonal approach, psychological research has opted not to demonstrate any understanding of the properties of the particular games or the medium its findings have been used to denigrate. Neither does its research possess broader awareness of the social dimensions of play or the productivity inherent in the practices of its surrounding cultures. This paper introduces findings taken from a two-year project that attempted to draw together what have essentially remained separate lines of inquiry – the critical and analytical scrutiny of Game Studies applied to understanding the pleasures of engagement with game violence. The aim of this research was to achieve a more contextual understanding of texts that utilise violence from the perspective of young people that opt to experience them as an entertainment form. In doing so, a range of qualitative methods were employed to encourage game players to present their viewpoints and offer a voice that is all too often absent from the ‘one-way debate’ attached to the representation of violence within games.

Author Biography

Gareth Richard Schott, University of Waikato, NZ

Gareth Schott holds a PhD in psychology in which he specialized in critical psychology (social constructionism & post-modern theory). He is principally interested in the pleasures associated with new media technologies and the manner in which they mediate behavior and personal and social development. His most recent research, publications and conference papers have focused on the 'players' of, and cultures surrounding, digital and electronic games. Recent and ongoing projects include: female gamers and their relationships with game culture, game fandom, the textuality of videogames and videogame art. He continues to be a Research Associate at the Center for the Study of Children, Youth and Media at the University of London (UK) in addition to his Senior Lecturer post at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.