Despite the nuances we have pointed out, the and calls for participation are both examples of boundary work that strengthens regional game studies. Apart from being constructed through external boundary work, game studies is also constituted internally through the analytical meetings of objects and concepts.
In the following, Bal compares the task of the cultural analyst to that of the travelling anthropologist. Here the interdisciplinary academic field is regarded from the inside of analytical work rather than through the lens of external boundary work:.
The essay has since been used by several game scholars to contest the idea of games as separate from everyday life e. O'Donnell, ; Turner, Geertz is clear that he is not revealing something hidden from the Balinese but that his informants are fully aware of the meaning of cockfighting as he describes it in his essay. This is not to say that the concept can only be found in this regional context. Game studies need not be content, however, with inheriting such concepts from anthropology. A game studies that consciously and rigorously explores regional concepts can itself generate insights that shift how we think of our objects of study.
Three examples give an idea of the range of ways in which scholars might employ regional concepts to think through familiar problems in game studies. Mukherjee compares the avatar as a concept in Hindu philosophy and a concept in game culture. By attending to the characteristics of the avatar in Hindu philosophy--particularly in relation to shared identities and cyclic recurrence--the concept can add nuance to theories of player-character identification such as those of Frasca and Calleja The Hindu concept of the avatar gives us, Mukherjee argues, a way of theorizing the complex forms of identification and becoming that are a central aspect of many digital games.
While not as prevalent as the avatar, the gold farmer is another familiar figure in game scholarship and game research.
Liboriussen uses the Chinese concept of shanzhai to approach this familiar type from a new perspective. Often associated with both comical and ingenious Chinese copies of Western consumer electronics, shanzhai is also associated with resistance and independence. While Japanese racial discourse is related to European and North American conceptualizations of Blackness and Whiteness, it is complicated by a Japanese subjectivity that conceives of itself as both not-Black and not-White.
This article has identified significant developments over the last couple of years in game scholarship outside Western Europe and North America. Naming also helps to shape or characterize these developments in such a way that the opportunities outlined in this article can be more fully realized. However, we are also aware of the dangers of naming a sub-field, and for the remainder of the article will discuss not only the opportunities of regional game studies but also some of these dangers and how they might be mitigated.
Scholars may be affiliated with a particular region in a number of ways--by birth, heritage, current location, academic interest, training, and so forth. Being born in South-East Asia does not automatically make one an expert on South-East Asian gaming cultures; and a scholar born in South-East Asia can obviously conduct research about topics other than South-East Asia.
Nor are we claiming that only people born in or located in a particular region can write about that region. Our claim is that the proliferation of research centres and networks outside of Western Europe and North America has the potential to generate new concepts and perspectives because it will be constituted by scholars with a greater range of regional affiliations. These affiliations will not be apparent in the work of all of these scholars, but it will in many, and this will enrich the field as a whole.
This is certainly not our intention.
We claim that in time regional game studies can make significant theoretical contributions to the field. However, the term regional allows us to hold onto the reality that game studies does have a centre--a concentration of intellectual resources in Western Europe and North America. The world is not flat, and there are significant challenges to the development of game scholarship conducted in, for example, regions of the global South, that are not encountered elsewhere.
By acknowledging this we can identify some practical means of supporting game scholarship in different regions that take account of these different challenges. Translation is also important in the other direction, to allow research conducted in languages other than English to influence the development of the field. We see the opportunities of regional game studies right across the different methodological approaches and perspectives in the interdisciplinary field of game studies.
It is understandable that regional approaches to games tend to adopt a player or player-culture perspective.
This kind of research has identified and theorized differences in gaming cultures in different regional contexts across the world e. Apperley, ; Huhh, ; Ng, But there is much terrain to be explored in regional criticism--analysing games-as-texts from regional perspectives. We see this holding much potential for development over the next few years.
The recent work informed by postcolonialism reviewed here gives us grounds for optimism. We caution, however, against centre-periphery models of power as a default option and suggest instead to let thought be guided by the more flexible notion of power-geometry--a geometry that may or may not take the shape of a centre-periphery as it comes into focus through analysis. A regional game studies thus informed, and simultaneously taking aim at the local and how that local connects with other structures, might be harder to do than a game studies relying on more straightforward models of the world.
But this kind of hard work will be worth our while if it helps game studies to further develop its global political relevance and responsibilities. Agnew, J. Principles of regionalism. Stearns Ed. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. Allen, J. Re-thinking the region: Spaces and neo-liberalism.
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This collection explores the relationship between digital gaming and its cultural context by focusing on the burgeoning Asia-Pacific region. Encompassing key. PDF | On Jan 1, , Larissa Hjorth and others published Gaming Cultures and Place in Asia-Pacific.
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