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Developing a methodology for corpus-based computer game studies

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Abstract:

Video games have become a huge success in contemporary pop culture, both as ludic devices and as narrative instruments. Because of their immense popularity they are also the didactic means in which a number of social constructs are spread and perpetuated. This is particularly true in the case of Diablo and World of Warcraft, two games produced by Blizzard Entertainment Inc. This study uses a hybrid method to study both games as texts, combining Fairclough's (2003) approach to critical discourse analysis and Corpus Linguistics. The main corpus was compiled by gathering texts about the characters in these two computer games, and their accompanying visual representations, from a) official Blizzard websites and b) user-edited websites and forums. Further data was gathered through the application of a questionnaire about male and female characters in these two games to fifty participants, and by playing each game and recording in-game interactions with non-playing characters and with other players. The linguistic data was examined using a concordancer, and then analysed following Fairclough's (2003) approach. The devised methodology places a strong emphasis in the correlation between linguistic and visual data. Through this correlation and analysis it was determined that there is a strong discourse of gender difference operating within these two games.

Keywords: computer games; corpora; critical discourse analysis (CDA); game studies; gender; sociolinguistics

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/jgvw.1.2.143/7

Affiliations: Bangor University.

Publication date: 2009-12-01

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  • The Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds focuses on theoretical and applied, empirical, critical, rhetorical, creative, economic and professional approaches to the study of electronic games across platforms and genres as well as ludic and serious online environments.
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