Much like the graphics of the games we study, the field of game studies has developed rapidly over the past twenty years. From humble beginnings as a disparate group of interdisciplinary scholars, to courses, degree programs, and departments focusing exclusively on Games Studies, the field has grown incrementally. During this growth, the interdisciplinary nature of the field has compiled layer upon layer of methodological dogma and practice to a point where it is difficult to ascertain why any one method for studying games is more appropriate than the next. This confusion can often be a daunting task for students and for early career researchers, as well as cause friction among scholars frustrated by the wealth of approaches available to them. On the one hand, many find it difficult settle on one course of action, and on the other, methodology is often not given the thorough consideration it deserves.
Ashley Brown and I will be addressing this topic in a panel session at DiGRA 2013 entitled “Defragging the Methodology of Games Studies”. This panel will bring together top scholars within the field in an open forum to “defrag” this aspect of our work that is often overlooked, and discuss challenges, constraints, and proposed future directions in the methodology of studying games and players. Panelists will include Nick Bowman (West Virginia University), Jussi Holopainen (Games and Experimental Entertainment Lab Europe), Celia Pearce (Georgia Institute of Technology), and Natasha Whiteman (University of Leicester).
The panel will discuss a range of methodological problems, or issues, before opening the discussion up for audience participation. The audience will be encouraged to comment on the panelists’ methodological issues, with a view to spark further discussion in the rest of the session. This format, structure, and topic should be interesting for not only students and early career researchers, but also for researchers who have spent much time in the field and have encountered problems, frustrations, and even success with particular methodologies.