For this episode I spoke with Tom Brock who is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University.
He tells me about his research into e-sports and video games and how the changes in the political economy of video games leads to a more rational approach to games. Is this damaging to the experience of play if it becomes instrumentalised. He also suggests this potentially encourages a neo-liberal orientation to the self as we are encouraged to measure ourselves and our performance in terms of a vast array of metrics.
It was fascinating to hear about the embodied experience of elite video game playing including the strains put on bodies in order to compete at a high level and the insecure lifestyles of those hoping for a share in the potential riches of prize money or sponsorship.
As someone who is terrible at video games I really connected with they way in which Tom conceptualised the perverse pleasures of failure when playing games.
You can read more about what Tom is doing on his website and follow him on Twitter @tgjbrock
The references for the articles of Tom’s we discussed are below along with links.
TGJ. Brock, E. Fraser (2018). Is Computer Gaming a Craft? Prehension, Practice and Puzzle-Solving in Gaming Labour. Information, Communication and Society. 21(9), pp.1219-1233.
T. Brock (2017). Videogame consumption: The apophatic dimension. Journal of Consumer Culture.pp.146954051668418-146954051668418.
TGJ. Brock (2017). Roger Caillois and e-Sports: On the Problems of Treating Play as Work. Games and Culture. 12(4), pp.321-339.
You can listen to the podcast on Anchor or subscribe and download through iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you usually get podcasts.