Qualitative video game studies: categorization and questions
In Game analysis: Developing a methodological toolkit for the qualitative study of games (a paper published in Game Studies, 6(1) december 2006), Mia Consalvo and Nathan Dutton describe a method for the critical analysis of video games as "texts". Their point is to go beyond "simply playing a game, similar to watching a film, the proper method?": They propose 4 types of targets that could be considered: Object Inventory, Interface Study, Interaction Map, and Gameplay Logs. What I appreciated is the list of questions they set corresponding to these 4 issues:
|Object Inventory||Interface Study|
||What is important about the interface, from the researcher's point of view, is the information and choices that are offered to the player, as well as the information and choices that are withheld. Examining the interface (and going beyond elegance of design or ease of use) lets researchers determine how free players are to experiment with options within a game. Alternately, it can help us see what information is privileged.|
|Interaction map||Gameplay logs|
Why do I blog this? there is indeed a lack of methodological framework for video game research. Though this corresponds to different research questions than the one I am addressing, the probes and categorization described in this paper are valuable.