Podcast: Konstantin Mitgutsch, “Tracing Playographies: Methods and Approaches to Research Transformative Experiences in Video Games”

“This game meant everything to me” – statements like this emphasize how players encounter deep and meaningful experiences playing video games in their lives. Playful mediated experiences strike players’ minds at particular phases of their lives, in relation to the space and time they inhabit, and in the context of specific subjective experiences. However, these transformative experiences cannot be standardized; they do not happen to everyone through the same game or at the same time and place. The question arises, how we can trace these highly subjective experiences. What methods are appropriate for researching how players put meaning into their games and how their biographies reflect these experiences?

In this talk the methodology of playographies – a visualization of playful experiences as part of qualitative biographic interviews – is introduced. Insights from Mitgutsch’s research on transformative playful experiences are provided and the development of this mixed-method research tool will be outlined. Besides demonstrating the methods and presenting recent results, the theoretical framework guiding this study are outlined. It will be reflected why and how games foster transformative experiences of players. On this basis the limits and potentials of this research method will be debated and future research challenges will be discussed. This talk is accompanied with a small self-exploration exercise…

Konstantin Mitgutsch is Postdoctoral Researcher at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. His research focuses on learning processes in computer games, empirical research on players’ experience, educational game design, and transformative learning in games. He worked in the fields of learning, media studies, computer games and age rating systems at the University of Vienna for several years. In 2010 he was Max Kade Postdoctoral Fellow at the Education Arcade at CMS. In his recent research project he investigates learning patterns in games and different methodologies of game evaluation.

Andrew Whitacre

About Andrew Whitacre

Andrew directs the communications efforts for CMS/W and its research groups. A native of Washington, D.C., he holds a degree in communication from Wake Forest University, with a minor in humanities, as well as an M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College. This work includes drawing up and executing strategic communications plans, with projects including website design, social media management and training, press outreach, product launches, fundraising campaign support, and event promotions.


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