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Imaginary monsters: Game 3.0 and the rise of the transgressive player

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In promotional literature advertising Media Molecule's LittleBIGplanet (Media Molecule 2008) we are told that imagination becomes reality, that if you can think of it, you can create it; if you can create it, you can share it; if you can share it, you can play it (Media Molecule 2009). We are told that by purchasing the game we will gain access to the tools required to create and share our own imaginative game content. This is an example of how Game 3.0 releases, such as LittleBIGplanet, commercialize and commodify the imagination of the player. However, when players intentionally or unintentionally engage in creative activities that fall outside of the scope of those sanctioned by the developer or other players, they rapidly become labelled as transgressives. Instead of presenting an environment of unbridled creativity, Game 3.0 releases have invariably been tarnished as the result of the ambiguous nature of boundaries of acceptable behaviour and appropriate imaginative creation. This article explores the notion of imagination as it relates to creativity and transgression within Game 3.0 (Harrison 2007a, b). It explores the ways in which imagination has been conceptualized as a marketable commodity in modern networked console videogames, and how as a result some players have engaged with a process of consumption and generation of subversive, transgressive content. In addition, this article offers a theoretical framework to begin to understand the differences in imaginative transgressive play and its motivations.
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Keywords: Game 3.0; Online videogames; media control; player-generated content; protest; transgression

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Canterbury Christ Church University, UK.

Publication date: 2010-08-01

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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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