Why I’m Having an Existential Crisis Over my Relationship with Gaming

How my DA acme together

My DA ended being a podcast style video, where I choose to focus on my own experience of the game as a member of the Rhythm Hive media niche rather than look at the experiences of others. While I would have preferred to include a relaxed recording of myself – to further expand my persona and go out of my comfort zone a bit – I ended up deciding to mainly voice over clips taken while streaming.

BCM241 DA

Autoethnography

My field journal

I found that autoethnography had a major impact on the course of my project because I decided to focus on my own experiences, I had to be a lot more critical of things I had taken for granted. To work on this process of reflexivity I maintained an in-depth field journal where I’d write down my experience both streaming and playing the game – as well as any challenges I faced or major epiphanies I experienced – I would come back to these notes later and work to analyse them from an external perspective. Reflexivity is at its core a process of self-mediation, where people attempt to control their place in the world and be the kind of person they want to be (Holmes, 2010). I find this linked well with Moore, Barbour and Kee’s (2017) idea of persona, as a persona is what the individual wants to present, and how they want to be seen by their peers – rather than a true reflection of the self. 

In my beta, I touched on Popova’s (2020) beliefs surrounding fan communities – and how these communities can be entirely disconnected from one another, even as they exist within the same space. This shaped my decision to move beyond participant observation – while I still spent time looking at how others interacted with the game, especially since one of my friends also plays the game, I was a lot more focused on documenting my own experiences.

I found myself experiencing some interesting discoveries and epiphanies throughout the project and used these resources to explore them in a more analytical way than I typically would when simply playing my favourite games. In one of my blog posts, I explored some of these discoveries, and in another, I took a more detailed look at them. I found some interesting research on the importance of stream aesthetics and was prompted to look more into my niche, and how K-pop stan communities focus on aesthetics influenced my own decisions around streaming. I also looked at in-game communities – something that provided further ideas about my niche as well as monetisation. In my final project, I decided to forgo looking at monetisation as I felt I’d exhausted that approach with my BCM215 DA.

10 GB of Rhythm Hive data taking on Google Drive

Overall, while my analytical research from BCM215 skewed my focus at times and led to me spending more time considering specific elements of the game itself – rather than my own experiences with it – my field notes helped keep everything organised and provided an essential resource when I lost all of my streaming data. Also helpful was the fact that I attempted to document as much as the process as possible – a friend and I often share screen recordings of us playing the game, so it wasn’t much of a stretch to record as much as I could, although I did struggle with accessing all of these resources on my laptop. 

More on my Media Niche

Streaming Mobile Rhythm Games – field map

My initial media niche was quite broad, and I had only identified it as ‘fans of the mobile rhythm game genre’ I made a series of field maps to narrow down this niche further. I continued to focus on the general mobile rhythm community for several weeks, and only managed to narrow my field site down to mobile rhythm games on twitch. I had planned to look further into a range of discord and Reddit communities to attempt to make more contact with my niche but found it to be too fragmented for that to be helpful.

 I had a lot more success with my niche once I’d changed my focus to the Rhythm Game community, but at the same time it is a very specific micro-community and as mentioned – is quite difficult to access online. This is something I should’ve considered further, as even from the first weeks of my project I questioned if there was an audience for mobile rhythm games.

Previous blog post headers

Through my project I have been able to conclude that while such an audience does exist, it is very difficult to establish one-self within it as there aren’t any central hubs for the genre. Even just looking at twitch data shows that there is a very limited number of streamers playing mobile rhythm games, let alone Rhythm Hive itself. The only reason I am confident that my niche actually exists is because I want to experience this content – and because I do discuss it with a friend. My only recurrent viewer and commenter on the stream also helped support this belief. They mentioned several times that they didn’t listen to the in-game audio and instead preferred to watch streamers while playing the game nightly. 

The Research Supporting It All

Previous blog posts

As seen above, I relied a lot on sources relating to autoethnography to narrow shape the course of my project. Throughout the subject, I also produced various blog posts exploring my niche and working on developing my persona that document more of this research process – all of these are linked above.

I honestly struggled with finding academic sources that helped me explore my niche, as the game itself only came out in February and is highly specific, no official sources are analysing it. I instead looked to articles that broadly explored rhythm games and however I was able to find a source that looked specifically at Korean gamers experiences with rhythm games and it provided a great analytical exploration of how these rhythm games worked, as well as how people interacted with them.

REFERENCES

Holmes, M 2010, The Emotionalization of Reflexivity, Sociology (Oxford), vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 139–154.

Moore, C, Barbour, K & Lee, K 2017, Five dimensions of online persona, Persona Studies, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 1–11.

Popova, Milena. 2020 Follow the Trope: A Digital (Auto)ethnography for Fan Studies. In “Fan Studies Methodologies,” edited by Julia E. Largent, Milena Popova, and Elise Vist, special issue, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 33.

Song, D., Kim, K. and Lee, J., 2019. Analysis and evaluation of mobile rhythm games : Game structure and playability. International Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering (IJECE), [online] 9(6), p.5263. Available at: <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/337664304_Analysis_and_evaluation_of_mobile_rhythm_games_Game_structure_and_playability> [Accessed 22 October 2021].

Visuals by Impulse. 2021. What Makes a Stand-Out Twitch Overlay & Why Do You Need One? - Visuals by Impulse. [online] Available at: <https://visualsbyimpulse.com/what-makes-a-stand-out-twitch-overlay-why-do-you-need-one/> [Accessed 7 October 2021].

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: