As I am interested in those topics that emerge from the digital / analogue relation I have been approaching to some videogame texts. I liked very much one from Body & Society, Technologies of Captivation: Videogames and the Attunement of Affect of James Ash (2013, p.27-51). The article speaks of videogames experiences, and, as the author expresses: how a person shapes their sensory conduct with regard to the nonverbal readings and feedback they receive from the ‘intense space’ that the game environment produces, and how the sensory feedback users gain from the game environment alters the sensual framework of their future habits and conduct. I liked the way in which the author works the concepts of attunement, captivation, intense space, the body “as a retentional apparatus for experience”, and the work on the relationship between experiences of time, space and technology.
On the other hand, I’ m reading a very interesting book of Helen Thornham: Ethnographies of the Videogame (2011). While reading, Thornham’s book I realised that, the important issue that Ash brings about the tuning between the player and the game: “this attunement and the atmosphere it generates between users will then affect the way in which the user community, as a whole, approaches the game”, must be linked to the need of reconceptialize gaming as a performed, lived and embodied experience, “embed gaming technology into the social power dynamics of the household” as she argues (Thornham; 2011: 17). Because focusing on the videogame logic or in individual processes of gaming present a risk of deny aspects of gaming as well as the discourses, dialogues and cultures of online games, as the author emphasizes.
The open skills that gamers develop and lies in the ability to respond to events in context-specific ways and emerge in the moment, that Ash explains, are also shaped in the social relationships that are socially negociated, in the way Thornham suggests. That it is the social setting of gaming, which is shaping gameplay and how it can be articulated (2011; 48). This wider viewpoint, that proposes to go beyond the study of videogames themselves, favours the approach on gaming for example as a gendered field of negotiation, “but not because men and women necessarily play differently. It is gendered because the wider utilizable discourses to which each individual can turn to in order to outline pleasure, desire, or investment, is deeply gendered (…) It becomes apparent that gaming is not only about a particular game or situation: it is also about pleasure, desire,performance, identification and dependes perhaps most importantly (Butler’ s phrase), on whom is imaginating whom” (Thornham; 2011: 48-49).
Ash is focused in how users become attuned to videogame environments through engaging with a specific videogame and it is an intimate relation with the game which is showed in his work, by developing very productive ideas. But, perhaps, good ideas need broader contexts of analysis, to go further and see what happens beyond the individual sensations and perceptions, to see the tree and the forest could be a better idea…