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Adult videogame consumption as individualised, episodic progress

Molesworth, M. and Watkins, R. D. (2016) Adult videogame consumption as individualised, episodic progress. Journal of Consumer Culture, 16 (2). pp. 510-530. ISSN 1741-2900

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1177/1469540514528195


Drawing from phenomenological interviews with 24 adult videogamers, we explore videogame consumption as a source of individualised, episodic progress. We first consider the relationship between play, progress, technology and the market. We then document adults' accounts of progress through the acquisition of new consoles and software, in the accumulation of in-game resources, and in creative achievements within videogames. Alongside an understanding of technological improvements as representing both technological and personal progress, we see how individuals may also turn to videogames in search of quick and easy episodes of achievement; here, progress is not some grand plan, but a series of small events helpfully structured by the latest game releases. Thus, in a society which aspires to a life where things ‘get better’ and time is usefully spent, adults who fail to actualise progress elsewhere may use videogames and related hardware to perform the idea of achievement as individualised episodes of play. In integrating the accepted cultural idea of progress, perceptions of adult play as ‘frivolous’ can be overcome and such practices may be normalised as a legitimate adult activity. However, play emerges from its frivolousness as legitimate only in compensating for working practices that remain alienated through technology-driven productivity, and through the latest technological commodities. The enjoyable nature of games as a leisure pursuit can become overshadowed by an obligation to achieve at the same time as distancing players from areas of their lives where progress is not experienced.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > Real Estate and Planning
ID Code:79216


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