Sara Grimes (SFU) presents research at Infoscape
Rogers Communication Centre, Room 229
Ryerson University, Toronto, ON
6pm Thursday September 18, 08
The Digital Child at Play:
As the growing body of research on play and games demonstrates, the more-or-less rigid systems of rules contained within even the most basic and traditional of games can have a profound influence on the shape and contents of play, by establishing (or at the very least suggesting) the "conditions" within which play takes place. Within many children's games, these conditions are far from neutral, reflecting instead a diverse array of social norms, power relations, market priorities, and parental hopes and fears. Within digital games, in which the ‘conditions of play’ can be programmed directly into the computer code, an unprecedented level of control over how game rules and parameters are enforced upon their players becomes possible. This thesis attempts to uncover the political and social dimensions of children’s digital game technologies, as they are reflected in the design decisions (for example, through the inclusion of certain technological affordances and not others), industry norms, social expectations, legal/regulatory requirements, programmed game rules, and the gameplay experience. The goal of this thesis is to identify what new 'conditions' are introduced to children’s play through digital games technologies, and to discuss their potential impact on children's play culture.
Based out of Ryerson University, Infoscape is made up of an awesome (and incredibly friendly) group of researchers studying various aspects of the cultural (social and political) impact of digital code. Many, many thanks to Greg Elmer for inviting me and for giving me this opportunity to share my work with the York/Ryerson students and faculty who attended this evening's event.