G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
(Broad)casting the game : the spectacle of real in representing and narrating video game play (2022)
Lähetettyä pelaamista : todellisuuden spektaakkeli videopelaamisen representaatioissa ja kerronnallistamisessa

Kerttula, T. (2022). (Broad)casting the game : the spectacle of real in representing and narrating video game play [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Jyväskylä. JYU Dissertations, 474. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8968-2

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Kerttula, Tero

eISBN: 978-951-39-8968-2

Journal or series: JYU Dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2022

Number in series: 474

Number of pages in the book: 1 verkkoaineisto (96, 20 sivua, 27 numeroimatonta sivua)

Publisher: University of Jyväskylä

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: English

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8968-2

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel


Video games have been a notable part of our lives for a long time now, and also in non-playable ways. The games and the action of gaming have been possible to consume through reading magazines and web pages, watching television and in these days, through online videos. In this compilation dissertation I look at the ways the media has used and presented video games and video gaming in the past 40 years. My aim is to prove, that through different means of presentation the role of the player in these presentations rises to equal the role of the games and even surpasses that. At the same time, I attempt to put these presentations in a media-historical timeline and point out the similarities between modern self-made videos and the television productions and games journalism of the past. I research the subject in the preface through the concept of the media spectacle and I’ll also look at the articles the dissertation consists of through the same concept. The concept of the spectacle makes it possible to look at the different media productions from commercialist and nationalistic angle and also to see, which kind of elements of power in present in these productions. The articles approach the subject through narrativization, oral history and triangulation. One notable part of the research is the data compiled of different television shows about video games from the 1980s to present day. With the help of different articles and methods, the research as a whole draws numerous similarities between the media spectacles about video games of the past and modern media productions. The results of the research are many. From the angle of the spectacle, the modern Let’s Play -videos have connections to early television shows and other audiovisual productions. One specific similarity is the emphasis in the presentation of the player instead of the game. Because the early television shows tried to market the games to the audience by using visual methods also seen in sports spectacles, they also marketed the experience of playing video games. The role of the player is also a role of a narrator. Let’s Play -videos can be seen as a specific kind of stories about how the game in the video was like to play. At the same time the videos show the relationship between the player and the game, for example by oral history. This makes the Let’s Play -videos a part of the research of the history of video games and video game culture. These stories have also their roots in the media history. The stories were told especially in video game magazines and their role were quite the same as in the Let’s Plays, to tell a story about a video game experience in a review or a walkthrough. The research also makes a note about competitive gaming – or eSports – and the evolution of it through these media spectacles. From the results it is seen that the modern eSports broadcasts are in many ways alike to early television shows, which incorporated competitive gaming as a part of the show. Those shows in their own turn took influence from sports broadcasts. At the same time the findings suggest, that in the eSports broadcasts the games are comparable to sport disciplines, where the attention in on the athlete, but also on the other factors influencing the spectacle, like the sponsors.

Keywords: digital games; video games; players (non-music); playing (games and sports); game culture; television programmes; online videos; electronic sports; doctoral dissertations

Free keywords: video games; history; television; spectacle

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

Last updated on 2023-24-08 at 22:15