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Title: The emergence of gamer culture and the gaming press : the UK videogame magazine as cultural and consumer guide, 1981-1993
Authors: Bootes, Robin
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis examines how the early UK videogame magazine articulated videogaming as both a cultural industry and as a social practice. The research enquires into the key functions of the gaming magazine, and asks how these functions were performed. By tracing the evolution of the role of videogame magazines, from arbitration to celebration, the study shows how these media texts provide a unique route to understanding early gaming culture in the UK. The theoretical framework for the thesis is partly informed by Bourdieu, specifically through his work on the cultural intermediary and cultural capital, and connects to contemporary academic studies on the formation of UK videogame culture (Kirkpatrick, 2015), whilst progressing previous engagements with the topic of UK micro-computing as a masculine pastime (Haddon, 1988a; Haddon, 1988b; Haddon, 1988c; Haddon, 1990; Haddon, 1992). Textually orientated discourse analysis is combined with content analysis to examine over 100 magazines from 1981 to 1993. The analysis approaches the magazines on a section by section basis: from the editorial manifestos often included in launch issues, to exploring the games review as a new form of quantitative media critique. The cover pages and advertising content are analysed as part of a distinct hyper-masculine gaming aesthetic, whilst the reader’s letters pages offer an example of how user generated content (UGC) can come to both represent and regulate subcultural discourse. The thesis confirms that the videogame specialist press played a defining role across the 1980s and early 1990s regarding the growth and consolidation of emerging videogame practices, both in terms of production and consumption. This Introductory chapter has five sections, and begins by stating the case for examining the videogame magazine. Secondly it establishes what kind of ‘gamer’ or ‘gaming’ culture is being conceptualised for the purposes of the thesis. Thirdly it outlines the significance of hobbyism as a precursor to gaming culture. Fourthly it highlights Bourdieu’s concept of the cultural intermediary as a vital tool to understanding the journalistic practices of the specialist gaming press. Finally, the introduction moves on to provide a chapter by chapter outline and summary of the thesis as a whole.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Arts and Cultures

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