Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Research Student: Yinyi Luo

Communication Studies

Photo of Yinyi Luo

Underlaid by the question ‘why we play videogames’ and inspired by audience studies and videogame ethnography, my research aims to explore players’ relation with videogames in the context of everyday life through qualitative means. Three particular themes are the focal points of this research: play, gaming skills and motivation. My intent is not in seeking ultimate definitions for the trio of concepts, but to investigate players own understanding of them, and to investigate how such understanding are weaved into, and in turn, constitute their everyday engagement with videogames.

This research attempts to speak to the imbalance within current videogame scholarship: within the growing body of literature that is perceived as ‘Game Studies’, there is a significant lack of attention paid to players – not to effects or affects, but to players as living, breathing, colourful individuals. This research is also an attempt in contributing to the pursuing for a more appropriate and productive methodology and corresponding methods to understand players. Participants were invited to play a game before their interviews; the gaming processes were screen-casted, considered as supplement to interview data.

The grand ambition of this research is to contribute to the wider debate of the role Digital Media plays in our current society and popular culture.

Background

I obtained a B.A. in German Language and Literature (with a strong focus on cross-cultural communication and Mass Media) from Communication University of China in 2010. Between 2010 and 2012, I worked as a PR specialist in mainland China. Completely baffled ye fascinated by the audiences of every single project I have ever participated, I turned to academia for help, in hoping for critical thinking and theories would help me to untangle the mystery that is audience – started a M.A. in Communication and Media in UK. It is during that time I came across the now-still-emerging field of Game Studies. As a player who has being playing videogames more than two decades – my first encounter with videogames happened when I was five – my passion for academia is reignited by serendipitous turn of event. 

What motivated me to undertake PhD study?

During my M.A. study, I received great encouragement from my then supervisor, Ms Oksana Fedotova and my family. If not for Ms Oksana Fedotova, I would never know I am but one of the many who are taking videogames quite seriously out of love and passion, and are genuinely trying to understand this medium critically, albeit with different focal points and opinions. If not for my family, I would never have gathered the courage for undertaking the task of a PhD study.

My current supervisors, Dr. Nick Robinson and Dr. Helen Thornham helped me to lay down my final decision, not only through their supports and encouragement, but also by simply demonstrating the greatness one could achieve in researching videogames and players through their own work.

What makes me passionate about my subject?

As an aspired academic, I am fascinated (and confused) by audiences in the context of digital media, of whom myself is a member. This interest started to accumulate through my time as a PR practitioner, and it is growing even stronger as I am gradually learning more about them – or us: the very fact that you are reading this paragraph through digital means makes you a digital media audience yourself. 

As a player, I have been playing videogames since I was five, and mostly likely the years to come. Videogames are more than a hobby to me, even before I started this PhD; some might call me a fan of videogames due to my devotion.

What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?

If possible, I would love to remain in academia – there are still so many questions to be answered; we still know so little about digital media and their audiences. And I also believe knowledge could only have its value being realised through spreading it. 

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