Submitted to the Digital Games Research Association’s 2020 Conference in Tampere, Finland, this extended abstract focuses on my current PhD dissertation work at the intersection of games user research and critical game studies. The research project looks towards game scholarship to enable games user researchers and designers to create interfaces and experiences that afford a wider range of behaviours and outcomes. Specifically, the research looks towards two key areas in online digital games: identity, or the ways that players can create their avatars, and community, or the ways that players can socialize and perform their identity with others. These areas are interrogated through the character creation interfaces, guild interfaces, and other similar interfaces that allow the player to create themselves and form social groups in digital games. This paper pushes forward the research-creation methodology — one that utilizes scholarly as well as experimental and experiential elements — as one that should be considered at the intersection of scholarship and industry. The focus on methodology goes on to discuss the ways in which free and open exchange of ideas, best practices, and so on, would be beneficial to all games user researchers, not only those that have institutional access or money to spend on game scholarship paywalls.
Click HERE to read the extended abstract.