Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Quotations: Games Never Do the Dishes

"Beth and Lorna, in contrast, have different relationships with the game. It is variety that the game offers, and this does not necessarily equate with progression (indeed, in Lorna's case, it resulted in the cessation of play). The power relation is figured differently, with the game providing variation rather than rewarding them. They not only conceive their own ability differently (despite being competent and frequent gamers), but the relationship they have with the game is much more negotiated. It is the game, arguably, which is figured as the more 'powerful' partner in their relationships. Just when the player decides to cease gaming, the game 'offers' then something more. This is quite a playful relationship, based on the mutual desire of machine and gamer to keep playing. Furthermore, it is the promise of pleasure--pleasure deferred--which keeps them entertained. this is the promise of pleasurable fulfilment before the 'end' of gameplay, and a large part of the pleasure is the expectation of the fulfilment of it. What is also interesting is not only that pleasure has to figure into the relationship, but that the machine has to be rationalized as fulfilling gamers' needs and desires. In some senses, figuring gaming as a relationship normalizes it, to the extent that pleasure becomes non-threatening and contained. These are not the rampant urges of sexually available individuals. Rather, they are figured as normal, social relationships in which desire and pleasure are both simultaneously contained and fulfilled: they are closed, safe relationships of heterosexual couples."
--Ethnographies of the Videogame: Gender, Narrative, and Praxis by Helen Thornham

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