chapter  1
22 Pages

Fun, magic and play

Theories of gaming
WithAditya Deshbandhu

The chapter tries to situate the practice of gaming under a broader umbrella of digital leisure activities. It foregrounds the growth of both gaming as an industry and gaming as an activity in order to understand both video games as media forms and cultural artifacts. The chapter also looks at the various ways video games have been studied by various disciplines and the various schools of thought in game studies and then tries to answer some basic questions such as “What does it mean to be a game?” and, in the process, grapples with existing literature from the emerging subfield of game studies.

This book seeks to situate the activity of playing video games in the context of the everyday, drawing largely from the work of Bourdieu, Wittgenstein and Schatzki. Nick Couldry (2012), speaking of media as practice, understands everyday rituals, habits and activities as practices that are situated in sociocultural contexts. Couldry builds on the work of Wittgenstein and Schatzki to look at how an act becomes a practice with the regularity of action and suggests the use of his practice approach to analyze specific regularities of action in relation to media of various kinds.