Reflection on “Some ‘technical challenges’ of video analysis: social actions, objects, material realities and the problems of perspective”, “Regulation anti-social behavior on the internet: the example of League of Legends” and “’Its in the game’ and above the game”

This week, I focused on two articles around the social aspect of gaming and then one on videography. The articles all paired together nicely because they discussed how social gaming can potentially effect a video (not necessarily so explicitly, but rather discussing filming a video frame with social activity vs not) and how video can effect social gaming.

Beginning with “Some ‘technical challenges’…” written by Paul Luff and Christian Heath, the two discussed methodological concerns related to video and “how to select framing for recordings”. Essentially, they argue that camera angle ultimately affects naturally occurring social interaction due to the presence of the camera and the researchers’ methodological concerns. I had been struggling with finding a potential angle to film the League of Legends club, and after reading this article, I have a better idea of some of the shots I want to get. For example, I think it would be interesting to film close-ups of the player’s hands and mouse movements, similar to Figure 5 in the article. I also have ideas to shoot some footage over the shoulders of participants to get some of the feedback on the screen while also potentially getting any social interactions (for example, A helping R with a new champion, etc). I think the influence of the camera creating these shots might create some different social interaction, and after reading this article I wonder if it would be best to turn the camera to the group, as described in one of the earlier readings, to see what kind of natural occurring footage they could potentially record.

The next article, written by Steven Conway, titled “’It’s in the game’ and above the game” examines the social interactions of some guys playing Pro Evolution Soccer, 2008. Many of these articles, including this one, begin with discussing the nature of video games being “anti-social”, but Conway argues that the “setting, social scenario, control interface and group dynamic” is just as important to the relationship between gamer and the technology. Throughout the article, Conway explains the norms of the players, their dress, their body language, their verbal communication and their customs. This article was interesting to read, and throughout I was reflecting on what the LoL club does in each of the categories; however, I was trying to make connections in terms of how each of these categories was influenced or manipulated by the diversity within the club. While creating a safe space for casual players, the LoL customs and norms have quite some differences in communication (particularly, verbal) simply based on what they enforce (racist, sexist language is not condoned). Another interesting aspect of the article was the “downplay of ‘gamerhood’ (a term that shall be coined by me)” of any female acquaintances; meaning, the females stated they “were not gamer” because “they didn’t take the game as seriously”, and this directly mirrors the LoL club officers and their attitudes towards League.

Conway begins to discuss the language utilized while playing, stating that any positive language was typically associated with first-person pronouns, while any negative language was associated with third-person pronouns. This type of language was showcased in the following article, “Regulating Anti-Social…” written by Yubo Kou and Bonnie Nardi. They describe how “flaming” erupted within LoL and how Riot responded. According to Kou and Nardi, “flaming indicates aggressive, hostile and sometimes profanity-laced interaction.” Kou and Nardi discovered that this language was mostly used when a team was losing a match, similarly to Conway, which is a negative action, and therefore, the players would begin verbally attacking other players. Due to the frequency in flaming, Riot was asked to do something to prevent or regulate it. With LoL being the most popular competitive online game, Riot did not have enough staff to “clean up the community”, so they “devised the Tribunal System as a way of letting the community police itself”. I found this very similar to Androjec’s article regarding Lateral Surveillance, because the members of the community are called upon to be proactive about negative behavior, and because they now know they are being watched, to no longer participate in this same behavior. Ultimately, the club participates in this lateral surveillance in a similar manner because they all police themselves in order to create a safe space.