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Frustrated Mom Kills Dragon: Motherhood, Emotions and Computer Games

Enevold, Jessica LU and Hagström, Charlotte LU (2009) The 31st Nordic Ethnology and Folklore conference
Abstract
Today an increasingly large and diverse audience spends more and more time and money on computer games; the actual player can now be anyone. Gameplay, whether it is raiding online in World of Warcraft, an evening of Guitar Hero in the living room with friends, or a quick round of Sudoku Master on the Nintendo DS while commuting home from work, has become part of the everyday life of millions of people regardless of age, sex and background. Play and everyday life combine in new exciting ways with new patterns of communication, interaction and behaviours emerging as a result.
This paper focuses on emotions emerging in relation to gaming— joy, frustration, anger, happiness, boredom, pleasure, satisfaction, annoyance — and is based on... (More)
Today an increasingly large and diverse audience spends more and more time and money on computer games; the actual player can now be anyone. Gameplay, whether it is raiding online in World of Warcraft, an evening of Guitar Hero in the living room with friends, or a quick round of Sudoku Master on the Nintendo DS while commuting home from work, has become part of the everyday life of millions of people regardless of age, sex and background. Play and everyday life combine in new exciting ways with new patterns of communication, interaction and behaviours emerging as a result.
This paper focuses on emotions emerging in relation to gaming— joy, frustration, anger, happiness, boredom, pleasure, satisfaction, annoyance — and is based on interviews with mothers who play, questionnaires and studies of media discourses. On the one hand, there are the emotions connected to the game as such, for example frustration over getting killed or not being able to figure out how to proceed. These can be sorted under the term "ludic emotions" and may encompass the passion felt for a game, "ludic affection" (Enevold 2008). On the other hand there are emotions connected to the gaming situation per se, such as the pleasure experienced playing together with friends, having a good time, or the irritation felt when the telephone rings in the middle of a game. Well aware of interactionism, we here prefer to call these "situational emotions" since we can register these as outcomes of external stimuli, but with difficulty measure players personality traits, internal feelings etc.
The paper exemplifies how emotions shared among players in some situations become problematic. Emotions are not just ludic, or situational but also "situated". The person expressing and/or experiencing them is never solely a player but a person located in a historical, cultural and gendered context. The players specifically focused here are mothers— traditionally culturally, socially and symbolically heavily situated figures. Although all players may experience all kinds of emotions, some seem to be more acceptable for some players than others.
In popular gaming discourses the mother is often represented as the guardian, who tries to regulate and control the gaming of the children, or as the supportive parent, who serves pizza or drives them to LAN-parties (Enevold & Hagström 2008). That is, she is not even conceived as a player. When playing then, do mothers experience feelings they should not have, or at least not express, given the fact that motherhood implies control, responsibility and liability? In our material, an often repeated feeling is "frustration". What does it mean when a frustrated mother kills a pixelated dragon? This paper reports how that frustration is both ludic and situational, how mothers cope and how their strategies and practices indicate their specific status as players situated in highly normative gendered roles and time- and place dependent contexts.
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author
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organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
published
subject
keywords
ludic emotions, emotions, computer games, motherhood, ludic sins
conference name
The 31st Nordic Ethnology and Folklore conference
conference location
Helsinki, Finland
conference dates
2009-08-18 - 2009-08-22
project
Gaming Moms: Juggling Time, Play and Family Life
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
0a575c40-615f-4534-a225-a6933d2548cd (old id 1497390)
date added to LUP
2016-04-04 13:03:55
date last changed
2021-10-18 18:30:18
@misc{0a575c40-615f-4534-a225-a6933d2548cd,
  abstract     = {Today an increasingly large and diverse audience spends more and more time and money on computer games; the actual player can now be anyone. Gameplay, whether it is raiding online in World of Warcraft, an evening of Guitar Hero in the living room with friends, or a quick round of Sudoku Master on the Nintendo DS while commuting home from work, has become part of the everyday life of millions of people regardless of age, sex and background. Play and everyday life combine in new exciting ways with new patterns of communication, interaction and behaviours emerging as a result.<br/>This paper focuses on emotions emerging in relation to gaming— joy, frustration, anger, happiness, boredom, pleasure, satisfaction, annoyance — and is based on interviews with mothers who play, questionnaires and studies of media discourses. On the one hand, there are the emotions connected to the game as such, for example frustration over getting killed or not being able to figure out how to proceed. These can be sorted under the term "ludic emotions" and may encompass the passion felt for a game, "ludic affection" (Enevold 2008). On the other hand there are emotions connected to the gaming situation per se, such as the pleasure experienced playing together with friends, having a good time, or the irritation felt when the telephone rings in the middle of a game. Well aware of interactionism, we here prefer to call these "situational emotions" since we can register these as outcomes of external stimuli, but with difficulty measure players personality traits, internal feelings etc. <br/>The paper exemplifies how emotions shared among players in some situations become problematic. Emotions are not just ludic, or situational but also "situated".  The person expressing and/or experiencing them is never solely a player but a person located in a historical, cultural and gendered context. The players specifically focused here are mothers— traditionally culturally, socially and symbolically heavily situated figures. Although all players may experience all kinds of emotions, some seem to be more acceptable for some players than others. <br/>In popular gaming discourses the mother is often represented as the guardian, who tries to regulate and control the gaming of the children, or as the supportive parent, who serves pizza or drives them to LAN-parties (Enevold &amp; Hagström 2008). That is, she is not even conceived as a player. When playing then, do mothers experience feelings they should not have, or at least not express, given the fact that motherhood implies control, responsibility and liability? In our material, an often repeated feeling is "frustration".  What does it mean when a frustrated mother kills a pixelated dragon? This paper reports how that frustration is both ludic and situational, how mothers cope and how their strategies and practices indicate their specific status as players situated in highly normative gendered roles and time- and place dependent contexts. <br/>},
  author       = {Enevold, Jessica and Hagström, Charlotte},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {Frustrated Mom Kills Dragon: Motherhood, Emotions and Computer Games},
  year         = {2009},
}