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The Assemblage of Play

Associate Professor T. L. Taylor

The notion of assemblage for computer game studies and the relationship between technological artifacts, game experience, and sociality.

This article explores the notion of assemblage for computer game studies. Drawing on this framework, the author proposes a multifaceted methodological approach to the study of games and the play experience. Drawing on user-created mods (modifications) in the game World of Warcraft and an analysis of a raid encounter there, a discussion is undertaken about the relationship between technological artifacts, game experience, and sociality. Primary to the consideration is an argument for the centralizing the interrelation of a variety of actors and nodes when analyzing lived play in computer games.

[Taylor, the Assemblage of Play]
T.L. Taylor
Written by
T.L. Taylor

T.L. Taylor is Professor of Comparative Media Studies at MIT and co-founder of AnyKey, an organization dedicated to supporting and developing fair and inclusive esports. She is a qualitative sociologist who has focused on internet and game studies for over two decades. Dr. Taylor’s research explores the interrelations between culture and technology in online leisure environments.

Her book about game live streaming, Watch Me Play: Twitch and the Rise of Game Live Streaming (Princeton University Press, 2018), is the first of its kind to chronicle the emerging media space of online game broadcasting and won the American Sociological Association’s CITAMS book award. She is also the author of Raising the Stakes: E-Sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming (MIT Press, 2012) which explores the rise of esports and Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture (MIT Press, 2006), an ethnography of the massively multiplayer online game EverQuest. In 2012 Princeton University published her co-authored book on conducting ethnographic research in online multi-user worlds, Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method.

Dr. Taylor is a highly sought after speaker. Both the White House and the International Olympics Committee have invited her to special summits focused on gaming. And journalists for the New York Times, PBS, the Los Angeles Times, BBC, CBC, and many others often reach out to Dr. Taylor for her expertise.

She also currently serves as a member of Twitch’s Safety Advisory Council as well as the editorial boards of Social Media & Society, Games and Culture, American Journal of Play, and ROMChip.

For more information about Dr. Taylor visit tltaylor.com.

T.L. Taylor Written by T.L. Taylor