Contextual Assignment Proposal

For my contextual essay I would like to look into the subject areas of video games, more specifically the way video games are portrayed in the media.

How are video games and its players portrayed in the media?

The reasoning behind the question is, as a gamer myself, in my opinion it feels a taboo to be open about my hobby. I’m interested to find out why, and is there a perception towards gamers.

The question of ‘what is a video game?’ will help understand the magnitude of the subject matter.

The linked theme with my practical work is the social side of gaming more specifically the idea that you always play alone, of course is not entirely true. 

Constantly within the media, video games are always being the blamed because people, more commonly younger people are turning violent. This is something I will explore further. This can be done by researching news accounts in which this has happened and hopefully understand the reasoning behind the media attacks. Age branding on media will be another aspect to write about.

The publics perception of a video game player is a teenage boy in his bedroom, staring at monitor for countless hours, I believe this stereotype needs to be broken. I know many female gamers myself playing the same games that males would.  

Linking with the obsession of video games and the aftermath portrayed by the media. I will look into the idea of immersion and do the majority of the people playing games become to immerse they sacrifice opportunities in real life for something they only see on a television screen. .   


Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames, Ian Bogost

Half-Real: Video Games Between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds, Jesper Juul

Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games, Edward Castronova

Beyond psychology, by Otto Rank

Paul Virilio: From modernism to hypermodernism and beyond / edited by John Armitage and Mike Featherstone.

Jean Baudrillard

Play between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture, T.L. Taylor

Virtual gender: technology, consumption, and identity. edited by Eileen Green and Alison Adam

Field Research:

Questionnaires, I will ask a variety of different people on their views on video games. From the questionnaire I will gather my own information on what the public think.

Interviews, a similar format to the questionnaire asking similar questions, I will conduct interviews with the public and more specifically gamers on their views.

My own personal experience with the subject matter I feel will help greatly in the collection of research., The Global Game Industry Network, many blogs, research articles exploring different aspects to video games. .


Final Major Project Proposal

Final Major Project Proposal

My Project is going to be set around the subject matter of videogames, more specifically the way people interact with these virtual worlds and why.

A dominant theme throughout my project will be the social aspect of gaming and people’s perceptions of gamers. From a non gamers perspective it may seem very anti social, but is this entirely accurate?

I have always been interested in video games from a very young age, recently I have been interested in amount of strange news the subject is getting at the moment. Over the past few months there have been several accounts in which actions in virtual worlds have lead to problems in real life. This really interested me because I find it hard to believe that people can get that immersed in something that is not physically real just a form of visual stimulation not really differing from television.      

Within the project development so far I have looked at the variety of different video games on offer to play, in order to learn more about the genres of different games, an example being an educational game played against the way someone would be play a shooter blasting peoples heads off. Something that occurred to me while researching is that the typical joy pad is slowly being pushed away and the age of touch screens and controlling things with brain waves if really not that far off. An example of a game without the use of a joy pad is Guitar Hero, in which you play the entirety of the game with a Guitar peripheral strumming along to notes on a screen.

The stage were I am at the moment is looking into the way people play games and how as a person they play games, the reason being to look at different people and how they each tackle the game in a different way. I have gone about doing this by filming a variety of people playing the same game then showing this as a video college.

Research Sources


Robbie Cooper, his work relating to his ‘Immersion’ project and ‘Alter Egos’.

Errol Morris, ‘the interrotron’ an interview technique which relates about Robbie Coopers work

Candice Breitz, the way she presents her work and the idea of filming many people performing the same thing. For example her work ‘Karaoke’.

Bill Viola, in particular his set of video portraits "Reverse Television", people being filmed watching television.


Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames, Ian Bogost

Half-Real: Video Games Between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds, Jesper Juul

Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games, Edward Castronova

Beyond psychology , by Otto Rank

Paul Virilio: From modernism to hypermodernism and beyond / edited by John Armitage and Mike Featherstone.

Websites, The Global Game Industry Network, many blogs, research articles exploring deep theory into video games.


The British Journal of Photography

I see my project continuing with the idea of watching people playing games, very similar to were I’m at the moment. With further development to my project my work will gradually deepen its meaning and bring to light the information found from my contextual research.

As a presentation method see my work as a video installation based upon the idea of multiples of the same action, similar to the installation methods of Candice Breitz.  




The Call of Duty Kid

The Call of Duty Kid set of works is a number of videos where I have filmed myself from a variety of different angles playing the game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, a first person shooter set in the middle east.

The idea for this set of videos came from looking at Robbie Coopers work titled  ‘immersion’ in his set of videos he filmed a number of school children around the London area. From the set of videos he wanted see how much the player actually gets into the games. While the children were playing he asked a number of questions, from asking the set of questions he learnt that while he was asking the questions the children’s eyes never left the screen. This is quite amazing  because the children were but in a strange setting that they have never been before but yet their interest in videos games allowed them to mentally seclude themselves in this quite public atmosphere.

This idea of watching people interested me a lot because for one thing I have never seen it done in such away before, secondly I see a lot of potential in filming people playing games. What I would develop on from Robbie Cooper’s work would be a greater range of mode subjects.

Gamers are often perceived as teenage boys in their bedroom, with no social life.

By using a larger range of ages and sexes in this filming would comment on this view of who gamers are.

My first step for developing this technique was to recreate it; this is my Call of Duty Kid set of videos.  During the filming I tried three different angles, mid shot, close up of my head and close up of my hands.

 Mid-shot: The camera is directly in front of me, showing the chest up to the head. This was the shot used in Robbie Coopers work. The good thing about this shot is you can see all body movement all the shuffles and fidgets reacting to the action on the screen. The only criticism about this shot is, will the viewer know what’s actually going on in the shot.

Close-up head: A portrait type shot showing the top of the shoulders and full head in frame. What really draws me to this shot is the fact that I wear glasses and you are able to see the reflection of PC monitor in them.  This solves my problem to extent with the mid-shot and the viewer maybe not knowing what is going on, and what I’m trying to say.

Close-up hands: The least successful of my shots in my opinion, I placed the camera, level with my hand and documented the movement while played the game. I think this shot could be developed further by maybe testing a variety of different camera angles and constructing the shot further.

In conclusion the set of shots were a success, I have experimented with Robbie Coopers style of work and now can move on to develop it further with a greater selection of people. A continuing problem while filming shots was the amount of light, I want there to be enough light so the person is visible but then I have to balance with the amount of noise with the camera trying to compensate.  All I will need to do is get the balance between shutter speed and the amount of light I apply in the scene