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01.06.2015 | Ausgabe 1-2/2015

The Computer Games Journal 1-2/2015

Hermeneutic Inquiry for Digital Games Research

Zeitschrift:
The Computer Games Journal > Ausgabe 1-2/2015
Autor:
Theresa Jean Tanenbaum
Wichtige Hinweise
A correction to this article is available online at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s40869-020-00108-2.

Abstract

Game Studies is a young research field compared to other media studies disciplines, such as literary theory and film studies. Games research has often struggled to balance the demands of modern constructivist perspectives on knowledge creation (Denzin and Lincoln in Handbook of qualitative research. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, 1994) against the long-standing traditions of humanities scholarship. Consequentially, games research is one of a new breed of natively interdisciplinary fields, with all of the challenges and opportunities that this entails. While there is much to be said for being able to draw on different methods and perspectives (Creswell in Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, 2003; Creswell and Clark in Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, 2007), this inherent interdisciplinarity forces the games scholar into making a unique balancing act between often contradictory epistemological positions. It is often unclear what the subject of games scholarship is, or should be. Is it the lived experience of play? Is it the design of games for entertainment, learning, persuasion, or expression? Is it the role of games within a particular content domain? Is it the development of simulation techniques for modeling, manipulating, and understanding complex systems? Is it the social and cultural practices that arise around and are mediated by games? In this article I describe the application of the traditions of philosophical hermeneutics and close reading to the study of digital games as texts. This approach deals with the poetics of digital games, and with the scholarly practices of articulating how a game accomplishes its particular experiential outcomes, such that we might be able to derive useful principles for understanding the game as a cultural, aesthetic, and practical (“Practical” in the sense that hermeneutic inquiry often produces knowledge about how the text created its meanings, thus contributing to the development of craft and design knowledge.) artifact.

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