If there is one thing that distinguishes videogames from other media forms surely it is their interactivity.
What it quite means to be a ‘player’, or what constitutes the distinctive ‘play position’, has never been more complicated, contested and confusing - so much so that it need not involve touching a controller at all, far less becoming an accomplished performer.
We see players learning from one another as they observe technique, and shifting between playing and spectating as they take turns sharing gameplay one level or life at a time.
Spectate! Recording, Streaming and Watching Videogames explores the phenomenon of videogame spectatorship and presents a historically-grounded case for a reconsideration of our conceptualisation and approaches to videogame play.
Renowned games scholar James Newman covers player activities, how platforms enable spectating in interesting ways, and how spectating helps play a role in archiving and preserving game history.
Recognising that the playability of a videogame is a temporary state, Newman argues that spectatorship is not merely a viable alternative to first hand play but that it might offer insights into the nuance and variety of possible playings impossible to attain in any other way. Newman’s analysis for understanding how games have been integrated into the landscape of new media will become required reading.
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