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The Everyday Lives of Video Game Developers: Experimentally Understanding Underlying Systems/Structures

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Abstract:
This essay examines how tensions between work and play for video game developers shape the worlds they create. The worlds of game developers, whose daily activity is linked to larger systems of experimentation and technoscientific practice, provide insights that transcend video game development work. The essay draws on ethnographic material from over 3 years of fieldwork with video game developers in the United States and India. It develops the notion of creative collaborative practice based on work in the fields of science and technology studies, game studies, and media studies. The importance of, the desire for, or the drive to understand underlying systems and structures has become fundamental to creative collaborative practice. I argue that the daily activity of game development embodies skills fundamental to creative collaborative practice and that these capabilities represent fundamental aspects of critical thought. Simultaneously, numerous interests have begun to intervene in ways that endanger these foundations of creative collaborative practice.

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Transformative Works and Culture

Citation:

O’Donnell, C. (2009). The Everyday Lives of Videogame Developers: Experimentally Understanding Underlying Systems/Structures. Transformative Works and Cultures, 2. Retrieved from http://journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/article/view/73

About Casey O'Donnell

Casey O'Donnell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media at Michigan State University. His research examines the creative collaborative work of videogame design and development. This research examines the cultural and collaborative dynamics that occur in both professional "AAA" organizations and formal and informal "independent" game development communities. His research has spanned game development companies from the United States to India. His research examines issues of work, production, copyright, as well as third world and postcolonial aspects of the videogame development workplace. Casey is also an active game developer, releasing his first independent game, "Osy," in February of 2011.

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